File Photo: KM/Umar Ganie

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir has become one of the top-ranking states and union territories to conduct the highest number of COVID 19 tests per million population.

Official figures reveal that 17.7 lakh tests including the Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) and Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) have been conducted in Jammu and Kashmir till October 9.

The Union Territory administration has increased testing from 9000 to 25000 per day.

 “Our ratio is 1.39 lakh tests per million, which is one of the highest. Before RAT, we were conducting 9000 RT-PCR tests per day. After introduced RAT, we are conducting 25000 tests per day,” Atal Dulloo, Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education, told The Kashmir Monitor.

Jammu and Kashmir has 79738 positive cases. Of whom 14696 are Active Positive and 63790 have recovered. The death toll has reached 1252. Of whom 387 have died in the Jammu division and 865 in the Kashmir division.

Till October 9, 595172 persons have been enlisted for observation. They included 23880 persons under home quarantine, 14696 in isolation, and 47263 under home surveillance. Besides, 508081 persons have completed their surveillance period.

Of the total test results available, 1643599 samples have come back negative till October 5. “We started with one laboratory at SKIMS. Later Government Medical College, Jammu, Command Hospital at Udhampur joined in. Then GMC, Srinagar, SKIMS Bemina, and five new medical colleges were also equipped with testing facilities. Earlier, our labs were functioning 16 hours a day. Our testing rate has been good from the beginning,” said Dulloo.

Thousands of teams are going village to village and mohalla to mohalla to conduct random tests of the population. Even mosques have been roped in so that people could voluntarily come forward for testing. In several localities, community members are announcing through masjid loudspeakers about the day, date, and venue for tests.

“Besides airports and railway stations, our teams are going from villages to conduct tests. Our teams are regularly testing service providers including barbers and others”, said Dulloo.

Since winter is coming, the Jammu and Kashmir government is planning to increase the number of daily tests. “There is exhaustion among the teams. For the last few months, the teams wearing heavy PPEs have been on toes. They need some relaxation. We need to take that into consideration. But at the same time, we need to increase the testing. We are trying to figure out logistics,” he said.

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