As many as 35 people in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, were forced to spend three days in a Covid-19-designated ward of a hospital after private labs in the district allegedly gave the wrong test reports, NDTV reported. The labs were not registered with the Indian Council of Medical Research, the country’s nodal health body for the coronavirus.
The Noida Health Department said that the group of people had consulted private doctors in the district after experiencing mild fever, cough and other Covid-19 symptoms. Based on the advise of the doctors, they later approached various private labs to get themselves tested.
According to the lab reports, all 35 of them tested positive and were sent to government isolation facilities. But when their samples were sent to the National Institute of Virology, Pune, for another round of testing, all of them tested negative.
Six labs have come under the scanner for the alleged lapses in Covid-19 tests, Noida Chief Medical Officer Deepak Ori told NDTV. The police have registered a case against one of the labs while the rest of them have been sent notices by the Noida administration. Meanwhile, the group of 35 patients have been discharged but are under medical supervision.
Ori said that investigations suggest the employees of the private labs allegedly did not maintain the samples in optimum temperature, which led to inaccurate results. This is a violation of the guidelines for testing issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research, he added.
“Action would be taken based on how the labs responded to the notice,” the medical officer added. “Some of these labs are not even authorised to carry out Covid-19 tests, but they were doing it for money.”
The labs allegedly charged prices as high as Rs 4,500 to Rs 5,000 for a test.