Worst fears about systemic failure on the coronavirus testing came true on Monday in Tana village in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar district when many persons tested positive for Covid-19 even without offering their swab or blood samples, officials said on Wednesday.
Health department technician Guman Singh apparently decided to test the efficiency of the laboratory where samples are sent for examination. He had been hearing complaints about the loopholes in the testing system.
He collected only four samples from the village.
The health department team collected the names and other details of 15 other persons without taking their samples. Many of them were not even not in the village at that time.
Singh is said to have admitted having manipulated the samples. He said when many villagers had been suspecting the genuineness of the tests. So, he sent 20 test kits without the swab samples for the examination to the laboratory, he said. Most of them had just been dipped in plain water, Guman Singh claimed on a television channel.
The block community mobiliser (BCM) Bachhan Mujalda whose services along with Guman Singh have been terminated is reported to have sent the “blank” samples to the laboratory without even bothering to inform the villagers.
The unsuspecting villagers received the messages for testing positive though they had not offered their samples for testing.
District Collector Alok Kumar Singh said that a Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) was sent for the investigation when villagers of Tana complained of having received the fake messages.
“Initial investigation revealed the carelessness of a block community mobiliser (BCM) and technician in this work. Possibly, the samples collected from some other persons were mixed in the test kits sent on the names of persons, who did not give samples,” the collector said on Wednesday.
The services of BCM Bachchan Mujalda and technician Guman Singh have been terminated with immediate effect, he said. This was done after the incident caused panic among villagers. Further investigation is underway, said the collector.
“I was in Bhopal when the samples were collected from the village. Only four samples were collected from the village. The health department team collected the names and other details of 15 other persons without taking their samples,” said Kamal Mujalda, who had received the message about his sample being found positive.