West Bengal claims it hasn't got a single COVID-19 test kit from ICMR/NICED
Photo: PTI/Mamata Banerjee - Facebook

Amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, the West Bengal government has clashed with the opposition BJP as well as the Centre, when it comes to managing the outbreak within the state.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had previously said that adequate relief measures from the Centre had not been made available to the State, and on Wednesday, the Department of Health & Family Welfare, West Bengal (WBDHFW) provided further details.

Taking to Twitter, the Health Department said that there were three types of COVID-19 test kits that are supplied by the ICMR. Of these, rapid testing kits are allegedly being "held back on account of poor functioning as per ICMR advisory". The second category -- BGI RT PCR kits -- are, according to the tweets, "being withdrawn as per communication from NICED on 21st April".

Speaking of the third kind of testing kits, called antigen kits, were "not supplied to hospitals in Bengal".

"Thus, as on 22nd Apr, WBDHFW has 0 kits supplied from ICMR/NICED which can test a COVID patient as per ICMR recommendations," the handle wrote. It also sought to assure citizens that "every possible effort" was being made to address the issue.

Recently, a Central team had come to the State to assess the COVID-19 situation in the state. Soon after, the Centre had accused the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government of obstructing a Central team deputed to assess the coronavirus ground situation.

Responding to the accusation West Bengal Chief Secretary Rajiva Sinha wrote to Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla stating that it was not a fact that the two Inter Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs) have not been provided with any cooperation by the state government since he had two meetings with one team and also was in touch with the other.

The Centre had also accused the West Bengal government of not cooperating with the central teams and also said that the state government was specifically restraining the teams from interacting with health workers and touring the affected areas.

A total of six IMCTs had been deputed to Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal to review the implementation of the lockdown measures after making on-spot assessment of the situation in selected areas. Two of these teams went to West Bengal -- one to Kolkata, Howrah, North 24 Parganas and East Medinipur and the other team to Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling and Kalimpong.

As per data available with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the state has so far recorded 423 cases from which 15 people have passed away. 73 people have so far recovered.

On Wednesday, the total number of novel coronavirus cases in India crossed 20,400. Over 652 people who had earlier tested positive have died.

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