Data from these 24 states and UTs totals up to 11,99,627 tests on September 24. The smaller states and UTs not included in the list together account for less than 18,000 tests, taking the total to around 12,17,000 tests in all — more than 2.7 lakh short of the 14.9 lakh figure.
While ICMR does not make state-wise testing figures public, an internal council document accessed by TOI gives a break-up of testing data from states for September 24. The document shows Telangana conducted 2,62,794 tests on that day, by far the highest in the country. The Telangana government’s figures for September 24 are much more modest at 57,621 tests.
Similarly, ICMR’s numbers for Andhra Pradesh (1,87,341) are at odds with the 69,429 tests which the state government says were conducted on September 24.
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ICMR officials said the council does not publish state-wise testing data. “We publish only cumulative data received directly from labs. States collect data on their own, except a few states like UP that have a common portal,” an ICMR official said.
The official said ICMR follows a system of direct reporting of testing numbers by labs. Any Covid test done by any government-accredited lab in the country is directly reported to the ICMR’s portal, discounting the scope for any error.
A top Telangana health official said the higher numbers recorded by ICMR could be a result of a technical glitch or double-counting while merging the data.
“We have not done more than 63,000 tests in a day so far. There might have been some technical error or duplication at the time of merging of data,” said Dr G Srinivasa Rao, director, public health in Telangana government.
“We have been using our own software to collect testing data and have a portal as well as an app for the purpose. The Centre too came up with a portal two months back. The data is uploaded on the spot by testing centres on our portal and it reflects in the ICMR site automatically. There could be some technical error in the process,” Rao said.
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Health officials in Andhra Pradesh pointed out that testing numbers in the state had never crossed 80,000 in a day. The highest figure in the last six months was 77,492 tests done on September 17. “The state has neither the testing capacity nor manpower to conduct 1.87 lakh tests in a day,” an official said.
ICMR’s data for September 24 also seems to be at odds with data sourced from the council by Andhra Pradesh government for its daily Covid reports. These daily reports contain the cumulative testing status for 23 major states at 9am each day, as per ICMR’s data. The testing numbers for September 24, obtained by subtracting the cumulative figures till that day from the next day’s data, also adds up to 11,94,085 for the 23 states. These figures are either identical or close to the numbers reported by individual states
With inputs from Sushmi Dey & Syed Akbar