Srinagar, March 31: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Er Nazir Ahmad Yatoo on Tuesday said that Kashmir needs more labs and kits to test coronavirus cases. The Centre, he said, has sanctioned only two test facilities to Kashmir valley even the cases are rising rapidly day by day.
In a statement issued to Fast Kashmir here, Er Nazir Ahmad Yatoo said, the Centre is yet to supply the state with urgent requirements like masks, more testing kits and other basic medical requirements.
“Everyone here in Kashmir feel this is inadequate, the risk and cost of a full-blown epidemic is very high. We should try to do as many tests as possible in a day. It is easier and cheaper to put down a spark than a full-blown fire,” Yatoo said.
For confirmed cases of COVID-19, hospital authorities have to usually wait for two negative results before discharging a patient. Delays in receiving these test results will mean that beds are unnecessarily occupied, and new COVID-19 patients would not be able to access these when there is a surge in demand, he said.
Though the efforts of our medical fraternity are commendable at this time, but government needs to ramp up its efforts and respond more aggressively by setting-up new labs. The key to this is rapidly expanding our laboratory capacity — the turnaround time for test results should be brought down to less than 5 hours instead of 24 to 36 hours, said senior PDP leader, Er Nazir Ahmad Yatoo.
Yatoo said, new labs must be setup in district level, and need to be staffed with trained personnel who can quickly run tests, in multiple shifts if needed, interpret the tests and provide results promptly to facilities in district level. The lab network should also be expanded, including up to district as well as sub-district level, he said.
The current strict testing protocol, which seems to be largely routed through the NIV for confirmation of diagnosis, has become a bottleneck in the response effort, and may jeopardise it, Yatoo said.
Meanwhile, Yatoo urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure a special package for Jammu and Kashmir to tackle the Covid-19 crisis.