Centre is trying to “malign” West Bengal, hasn’t sent enough kits for COVID-19 tests: Mamata Banerjee

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday alleged that the Centre is “maligning” the state by suggesting that enough tests for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) are not being carried out here. Banerjee was addressing the press at the state administrative headquarters Nabanna. She said that the Centre was constantly feeding “news” to the national media that enough tests are not being done in Bengal.

She added that the truth is that the Centre has not sent enough viral transmission media (VTM) to the state which are needed for the testing, adding that these were “two-swab kits”. The state has conducted 7,037 COVID-19 tests till date, she said, adding that for each test two VTMs are needed. Thus, over 14,000 VTMs were needed, but the Centre has sent only 2,500 VTMs, Banerjee said. The state had been conducting the tests so far with VTMs procured independently by the state health department, she said. More kits had been ordered, but this will take time to reach Bengal, she said. “Thanks to the state health department, this was possible,” she said.

Banerjee said that this had caused some health hazards because the tests require to be done on time “otherwise patients might die” and “who will then be responsible for it?”

The CM said that testing kits which were earlier provided to the state for rapid tests and molecular tests have also been declared faulty and were withdrawn. Thus the time and effort that went behind those tests were in vain, she said. “I don’t understand what is their plan!” Banerjee added.

The Centre has been referring to a Supreme Court order for asking cooperation of state government in assessing the COVID-19 situation by two teams sent by it, she said. But Banerjee said that those two court orders were regarding migrant workers and fake news on COVID-19. The Centre and the state have been involved in a war of words for the past two days over this as the state government says it was not informed about the visit of Central government teams prior to their visit to check the COVID-19 situation on the ground. The state government has been saying that such a move goes against the federal structure of the country.

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