Friday, March 31, 2023

Permanent RAT booths to scan visitors at Rly stn, bus terminus and airports in Jharkhand


State refutes Centre’s vaccine wastage data, puts wastage at 2.68 %

Ranchi, June 11: Visitors coming to Jharkhand either through bus, air or railway route will have to undergo Rapid Antigen Test (RAT).

A letter has been sent by additional chief secretary (health), Arun Kumar Singh to all the deputy commissioners in 24 districts to set up 24×7 rapid antigen testing permanent booths at all major transit points in the state to scan every incoming visitor, deciding not to take any chances even though daily Covid cases and fatalities have shown a downward trend, 

“This is part of the test, track, isolate, treat and vaccinate policy of the state health department. The idea is to continue to check every visitor to ensure early detection and tracking of suspected cases to prevent another spread of the virus. While inter and intra- district buses services have been stopped as part of the state’s ongoing partial lockdown but as unlocking process continues the preparation has to be there for the bus terminus too, operation of trains and flight services has continued uninterrupted,” said state health IEC nodal officer, Siddharth Tripathy.

The decision is also based on apprehensions of a third wave later this year.

 “While Covid-19 cases are dipping, it is imperative that everyone follows the principles of ‘test, track, isolate, treat and vaccinate’ to tackle the pandemic. Several experts are also predicting a possible third wave. Therefore, all districts are directed to set up permanent rapid antigen testing (RAT) booths at all railway stations, airport, and bus stands,” the letter by Arun Kumar Singh states.

Singh suggested the testing booths must work round-the-clock. “All districts must deploy sufficient numbers of testing staff per booth on eight-hour shifts to ensure 24×7 testing activities,” he said, directing local police to provide security at the sample collection venues.

Meanwhile, Jharkhand health department refuted the Union health ministry data of vaccine wastage and announced that that the state wastage percentage was at 2.68 as of Thursday night.

The announcement by the state health department came after disparities arose with numbers issued by the Union ministry of health on Thursday which put Jharkhand as the highest vaccine waster with a percentage of 33.95. The national average of vaccine wastage is around 6.3 per cent.

“We received 57,15,600 vaccine doses for 18 plus and 45 plus age groups of which 47,32,426 were used. The balance is about 8,30,630 doses. Considering these figures, the wastage is 2.68 per cent. The calculations are based on the updated figures till the night of June 10. The wastage figure is still tentative because the process of updating data on the Co-WIN portal is still on. We are hoping that the wastage percentage will come down  more,” said Siddharth Tripathy.

He said the Union health ministry had now authorised the state government to update data on the Co-WIN portal too. “Earlier, the data had to be sent to the Union government which in turn used to update it. However, we have now been allowed to make corrections from our end directly on the portal. As a result, even districts can update data from their end,” he said, adding that the mismatch of state and central data over vaccine usage and wastage was due to delay in updating data and typing errors.

On Thursday, Jharkhand registered five deaths due to Covid taking the total mortality figure to 5081 and added 293 cases taking the total active caseload to 4514.

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