Random testing to be need-based: Prestone

SHILLONG/TURA: The state government on Wednesday said random testing for COVID-19 in the state would be need-based while the West Garo Hills district administration decided to go ahead with the procedure for high-risk individuals from Thursday.
Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong told newspersons in Shillong that there are states which are doing random testing but they do not have the mechanism to deal with the situation arising out of the pandemic.
“I can proudly say that the state so far has managed to handle the situation very well since we already had a mechanism in place right from day one,” Tynsong said while maintaining that the number of tests done in the state is not low.
According to him, testing is not the only answer to deal with COVID-19.
“The state has been recognised for managing the situation very well especially with a 90 per cent recovery rate. Meghalaya is much safer than other states at the moment,” Tynsong said.
He, however, said that the state government is not against intensifying testing or conducting random testing if there is a need and will consider it if there is any proposal from the district administration or the District Vigilance Committee or the District Medical and Health Officer (DMHO).
High-risk group
Meanwhile, the West Garo Hills district administration has identified high-risk individuals like drivers, shopkeepers, hawkers, hair-stylists, policemen, bank and other government employees for random testing.
The Deputy Commissioner, Ram Singh, informed about the move in a meeting held at DRDA Hall in Tura on Wednesday to discuss safety measures in the wake of increasing number of cases in the neighbouring state.
During the meeting, all concerned committees and government establishments were advised to identify and send the names of the individuals to be tested to the District Surveillance Officer, Tura. However, Singh cautioned that random testing is a precautionary measure and those tested should not be viewed as being positive cases and stigmatised in any way.
District Surveillance Officer, IDSP, Dr Mukrang Terang pointed out that post lockdown, people are venturing out for various purposes which is a matter of concern and said that random testing will be done in every block with set targets and for now 50 samples will be tested per week in every block.
Health protocol
Tynsong also reiterated the need for people to adhere to the government directives on wearing masks and maintaining social distance.
He informed that the notification regarding the use of masks and maintaining social distance was issued around a month back.
Asserting that the government has noticed that people are taking the matter very lightly, Tynsong said, “In today’s review meeting, we decided that a formal request would be made to the local authorities, including Rangbah Shnong and NGOs, to adhere to the directives of the government.”

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