The initial investigation on the inflated number of antigen testing at few centres under the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) indicated data entry mistakes. While the civic chief suspended a health official, in charge of the testing, he warned officials that such mistakes would not be tolerated in the future.
After allegations surfaced regarding the civic administration allegedly inflating the number of antigen tests by issuing negative reports to people who were not even tested, the civic chief set up a three-member-committee to investigate the whole issue. There has been an allegation that civic administration inflated the number of contact tracing by showing false testing reports which is a scam as such testing kits might be sold outside.
Ankush Kadam, a social activist, said that NMMC’s testing centres have been releasing negative reports of the kin of positive patients without testing them for COVID-19. He claimed that they purposely shared contact details of their relatives who had passed away a few years ago, as part of the contact tracing.
Shockingly, after a few days, they found that their names on the ICMR website as people who had tested ‘negative’.
Later, Pravin Darekar, leader of the opposition at the state assembly, also met the civic chief and sought a detailed enquiry on the whole issue.
Abhijit Bangar, the municipal commissioner said that initial enquiry showed data entry mistakes, however, a detailed report will come within a week.
“Even though this looked like a data entry mistake, we have suspended an official in-charge of testing,” said Bangar.
Dr Sachin Nemane, in charge of the testing, has been suspended.
Bangar said that the civic body conducts around 3,000 - 4,000 tests per day of which around 3,000 tests are antigens.
“As part of the contact tracing while conducting a test, the official also takes details of family members for future contact testing in case the person is tested positive,” said Bangar.
He added that if a person is tested negative, his or her family member's name is removed from the list while updating it for the ICMR.
“In a few cases, due to mistakes by the data entry executive, names of family members of those who tested negative are also updated in the main list,” said Bangar.
He said that such numbers are very low when it is compared to the 3.5 lakh antigen tests that are conducted in the city.
“Even a single error is not acceptable in a COVID 19 situation. I have already suspended the health official in charge of testing and directed officials to take extra care while updating data,” said Bangar.
He added that the enquiry report will come within a fortnight and accordingly the civic administration will take action.