IN A SHOCKING move that is guaranteed to spread the deadly coronavirus among the populace, the Health Department officials and workers today landed up at various housing societies of Mohali and started mandatory testing of all residents by asking them to come to a single spot.
The foolish move to bring hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of residents to a single spot in the name of testing is exposing all the residents to the virus, thus sending scare among even the highly educated and well off residents.
Completely disregarding all latest scientific research about need and extent of mass testing, and the utility thereof, and not paying any attention to the fact that new research backed by Lancet and other top medical publications has underlined how the virus stays in the air for hours, the Mohali Health Department is now making the residents highly vulnerable to the virus.
Residents of various societies that Punjab Today reached out to said the residents were told to come to a single spot in turns for this mandatory testing, but there is great resistance to the move since most residents are aware that the coronavirus has now been found to be airborne.
“A move like Mandatory Sampling of all in the Micro-containment zone to limit the spread of the contagion is actually a move to spread the virus among the populace. I am shocked that anyone with a sane mind can think of such a foolish strategy that will prove surely counter productive,” said Dr Pyara Lal Garg, former Executive Director, State Health Systems and former Registrar of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Punjab’s only health university.
Health Department officials, who spoke to Punjab Today on condition of anonymity, agreed that the sampling strategy was a disaster and can prove to a Super Spreader event, but said they were helpless.
“The local councillor or other politically inclined people are trying to score brownie points and are forcing the Civil Surgeon to send such teams, not caring about the dangerous fallout of such mass testing events,” said a senior official who accompanied one such team in a housing society in Zirakpur.
Residents in Skynet Enclave of Zirakpur, where another such team landed today morning, said they have not been meeting even each other for months now, but the Health Department officials are bringing them all together in one place.
More shockingly, in Skynet Enclave, the team has stationed itself at one spot in a dingy office of the society, asking “residents shall come in turns for sampling,” completely disregarding the fact that since it is an airborne virus, the move will expose all healthy population to the deadly pandemic.
Dr Garg said at a time when the politicians, including the health minister, are openly flouting Covid guidelines, it falls upon the civil society and aware residents to safeguard their health and resist any foolish measures by unthinking officials.
A health department official said he strongly opposed such moves and exempted himself from part of such a foolish exercise. He said similar moves in the first wave of virus had proved counter-productive.
“Besides, this is wastage of scarce human resources as well as medical facilities. In any case, if the health officials are opting for any kind of instant testing, then this is further problematic because science has proven this kind of testing to have a huge error rate and 60 per cent results could be false negative. This will present a completely distorted picture of virus stats,” said Dr Garg, also former Dean, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Panjab University, Chandigarh.
Punjab’s Director Health Gurbinder Bir Singh remained unavailable but sources in the directorate said such moves were the result of local activism by smalltime politicians or over-enthusiastic chief medical officers or civil surgeons.
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