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Report on Fake Covid-19 Tests During Kumbh Mela Expected Soon: Health Ministry

A detailed investigation was ordered after a preliminary investigation revealed that many private labs roped in by the district health department issued fake Covid-19 test reports.

Many Devotees gathered for Kumbh Mela in Haridwar on April 1, 2021. (Source: ANI)
File photo of Kumbh Mela on April 1, 2021. (ANI Photo)

New Delhi: The Centre expects a detailed report on fake Covid-19 tests conducted during Kumbh Mela within a few days, said Lav Agarwal, the Joint Health secretary of the Union Health Ministry, during a Covid-19 Review meeting here on Tuesday.

The Kumbh Mela held in April this year witnessed thousands of devotees taking a dip in the river to mark the “Shahi snan” which led to the flouting COVID-19 norms in Uttrakhand and its neighbouring states

Reports surfaced about fake COVID reports issued by private labs during Kumbh Mela.

According to ANI report, a private agency engaged by the Uttarakhand government to conduct Covid-19 tests during the Kumbh Mela issued at least 1 lakh fake reports. 

During the press briefing by the Union Health Ministry held today, Lav Agarwal said, “It was reported that during the Kumbh Mela, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) informed regarding this to State government and State government proactively through its control room called sample collectors. The State government has done a preliminary enquiry and the District Magistrate (DM) Haridwar has made a detailed action report that who is responsible behind this. Almost one week is over”. 

READ ALSO: Covid-19 India Update: Close to 85% Decline in New Cases Since May 7 Peak, Says Health Ministry

The Haridwar district administration recently ordered an investigation into allegations that fake Covid-19 test reports were issued by private laboratories during Kumbh Mela. 

A detailed investigation was ordered after a preliminary investigation revealed that many private labs roped in by the district health department issued fake Covid-19 test reports in the name of random people based on their identity cards and phone numbers. 

The Union Health Ministry has held discussions on the issue however reports on fake reports are yet to be confirmed, said Agarwal and further said, “The figure is to be determined at the end of enquiry, but we discussed in detail with state health secretary and he will be submitting a detailed report within next 7-8 days and action will be taken at the state level.” 

Four days ago, the Uttarakhand government ordered an inquiry against all the private labs doing rapid antigen tests after discrepancies were found in Covid-19 testing data during Mahakumbh earlier this year. 

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State government spokesperson Subodh Uniyal said that orders have been issued to the Director-General of Health in this regard and all districts have been asked to investigate Covid-19 testing labs properly before making any payment. The government had hired private labs for conducting Covid-19 tests during Mahakumbh.

(With inputs from ANI)

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