MHA terms as baseless allegation of putting pressure on Delhi govt not to increase COVID-19 tests
Shailendra Bhojak

The Union Home Ministry on Thursday termed as baseless the allegation that it is putting pressure on the Delhi government not to increase COVID-19 tests to 40,000 in the national capital.

A Home Ministry spokesperson said the marked improvement in the COVID-19 situation in Delhi has been possible due to enhanced testing and other containment measures.

"The allegation raised in the letter of the Health Minister of Delhi Govt dated August 27, 2020, which is addressed to Union Home Secretary, to the effect that MHA is putting pressure on Delhi Govt officers not to increase testing in Delhi is false and baseless," the spokesperson tweeted.

The Home Ministry said it was after the intervention of Union Home Minister Amit Shah that the daily tests in Delhi, which were averaging around 4,000 per day till mid June, 2020, went up to around 18-20,000 per day in a calibrated manner.

"As such, any allegation that MHA is putting pressure on Delhi Govt not to increase testing in Delhi is absolutely without any basis," the spokesperson said.

The Home Ministry said the letter of Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain annexed a note of the officers of the Delhi government and this note made no mention whatsoever of any instruction of the MHA on the matter of increase in testing in Delhi.

The note has only proposed that the views of an expert committee headed by V K Paul may be taken on the proposed enhancement in testing in Delhi, for technical guidance on various issues such as mix of RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen, categories of geographical areas and demographics etc, the spokesperson said.

Jain in his letter to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla alleged that the Home Ministry is "intervening and putting pressure on officers of Delhi government", to prevent raising of COVID-19 tests to 40,000 in the city. Jain claimed that the Delhi government has been able to control coronavirus by working on the policy of more and more testing to identify and isolate COVID-19 patients.

"But when some officers told pressure is being applied by the Home Ministry on Delhi officers that testing is not to be increased further in Delhi, I was shocked," Jain wrote to the Union home secretary.

In last few days, coronavirus cases have been increasing in Delhi. On Wednesday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a meeting with officials and decided to double the current tests from around 20,000 daily to 40,000.

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