Former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis
Former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis

Mumbai: Senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis on Wednesday appealed to the Maharashtra government to do away with rapid antigen tests to detect COVID-19 cases and rely only on RT-PCR tests, which he said are known for maximum accuracy.

In a letter to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, the Leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly also said the previous experience of rapid antigen tests in Mumbai was not good.

He stated 65 per cent results of the antigen tests conducted in two Mumbai-based laboratories between July 18 and 21 had come out negative, while the same suspects tested positive for the infection in their RT-PCR tests.

Tamil Nadu also had a similar experience with rapid antigen tests, the former chief minister said.

"Instead of antigen tests, the state government should prioritise RT-PCR tests for better accuracy," Fadnavis said.

In its letter to the state government, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has highlighted that Maharashtra has high capacity for conducting RT-PCR tests, he said.

The state-run laboratories can test 35,900 samples a day, while the capacity of private such facilities is to conduct 20,040 tests a day, he said.

"While the testing capacity in Mumbai alone is 12,210, the current average of tests done in the state capital so far is 5,800," he said.

When state-run facilities have a high testing capacity, why were citizens were forced to go to private hospitals and spend money for tests? Fadnavis asked.

He also demanded that the state government release daily figures of antigen tests and PT-PCR separately for better transparency.

The number of COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra on Wednesday crossed the 4 lakh-mark and reached 4,00,651, as per the state Health department.

A total of 20,16,234 people have been tested so far in the state, it said.

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