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Fake negative reports of Covid-19

IFP Editorial: One has to check the veracity or genuineness of the test reports being produced by persons entering the state or returnees.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 20 Jan 2022, 4:01 am

(File Photo: IFP)
(File Photo: IFP)

In view of the recent spike in Covid-19 cases and the Omicron variant spread in the state, the government has made it mandatory for travellers entering Manipur by road or air to carry negative COVID-19 test reports, that too of RT-PCR. In the last few days, the daily positivity rate is increasing by leaps and bounds and as such the presence of the new variant Omicron is suspected to be the driver of the recent surge.

From a single confirmed case of Omicron, it has now increased to 39 and everyone knows the detection of Omicron variant takes time as it has to go through a rigorous process of whole genome sequencing. The returnees from Tanzania and UAE ultimately turned out to be Omicron positive. If we look at the nature of the recent surge, many of the new positives could be of Omicron. Amid this concern, the recent reports of fake RT-PCR negative test certificates in the media is quite troubling.

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ALSO READ: Travellers flout Covid rules; use of fake RT-PCR negative certificates on the rise in Manipur

One such incident came to light when a traveller entering the state by road through the Mao Gate was found carrying a fake RT-PCR negative test report. All travellers arriving in Manipur by road are checked for Covid negative certificates, at the Mao Gate. The traveller disclosed that he received a fake RT-PCR negative test report from a nearby Dimapur railway station for Rs 250 and entered the Mao gate. The man had reached Imphal through Dimapur via Mao gate on Monday but on the way from Dimapur, he along with some persons bought the negative test certificates without actually undergoing the RT-PCR tests. In yet another instance, an air passenger admitted that he also travelled with a fake negative certificate and managed to reach Imphal.

The air passenger, who was studying in Delhi, told the Imphal Free Press that he took the flight to Imphal by carrying the fake negative test report, as his college closed down and he had to leave the hostel. He had no other option but to return home by flight urgently. So, he got the fake certificate through one of his friends from Imphal.

ALSO READ: AIOCD seeks DCGI’s attention on ‘uncontrolled sales’ of Covid test kits

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It is said, the thief is always some steps ahead of the police and even if the thief is ultimately caught
the damage in between was already there. So, how do we deal with the problem of fake RT-PCR reports? Manipur Health Director K Rajo had announced that it is mandatory for all air passengers or road passengers or anybody entering the state to carry a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test report done within 48-hours of arrival or entering into the state.

But it is not enough. One has to check the veracity or genuineness of the test reports being produced by persons entering the state or returnees. The Union Health Ministry has a recognised list of testing laboratories for Covid-19, but we do not know whether it has a unified database of all the tests done so that any test results could be confirmed online. Now, it has become necessary to verify every test report through such a database and also to develop a strategy to detect fake test reports.

- EDITORIAL

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First published:19 Jan 2022, 7:24 pm

Tags:

SOPentry to ManipurtravelersCovid rulesRT-PCR negative test reportfake RT-PCR

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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