testing rate: Bengal, Bihar, UP and MP lag behind in testing

New Delhi: West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are lagging behind in testing suspected Covid-19 patients with an average of 25% of the national figure.

After the total tests done in the country exceeded 1 million, tests per million went up from 57.9 on April 4 to 818 on Monday. However, the Indian Council of Medical Research figures for West Bengal showed that it was the lowest among top 15 states with most Covid-19 cases.

West Bengal conducts 230 tests per million, followed by Bihar, which conducts 267 tests per million. Uttar Pradesh’s 429 tests per million is almost half the national average. Madhya Pradesh, which has been the cause of worry tests 642 per million. The four states have seen a sharp increase in positive cases.


“The spike in cases is even more worrisome when you see the inadequate test numbers. This clearly shows that if these states were to test more, more cases would be found,” a senior health ministry official told ET. When the lockdown began March 25, India’s low testing

numbers had come under international focus as health experts pointed out that without widespread testing a country would not know the extent of the spread.

Delhi, which initiated aggressive testing (test trace treat), has recorded the highest tests per million at 3,486 — over four times the national average, followed by Andhra Pradesh with 2,313 tests per million, Jammu and Kashmir 2,083, Tamil Nadu 1,932, Rajasthan 1,668 and Maharashtra 1423.

“More than the absolute numbers, tests per million indicate a better reach and sampling. So while Maharashtra has the most number of samples tested, Delhi has the best tests per million population which means that it is more representative of the extent of infection,” said an ICMR scientist.

Even as the testing numbers have increased steadily over a month, the test positivity rate has gone down. India’s test positivity rate has been between 3 and 5% throughout March and April.

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