The 297 passengers travelling from Italy to India who showed positive for Covid were tested using defective Covid tests. Passengers had to have a negative PCR test before boarding the planes in Italy.
The Tribune India reports a probe found that 297 passengers from Italy tested “false positive”. This was due to defective Covid tests used at Amritsar on arrival.
Retesting of the “infected” passengers is now underway.
According to sources, the Health Department’s examination found testing kits to be defective on Friday. The testing at the Amritsar airport was carried out by a laboratory functioning under the supervision of the airport authority.
As a result, Director Health Services Dr GB Singh sent a note to all districts regarding false reporting of the cases.
Many passengers were sent home for isolation and quarantine. All Deputy Commissioners, in whose districts the “infected” passengers live, received a communication from the Indian Health Services informing them of the defective Covid tests.
“The Government of India now wishes to determine the positivity status of these passengers, who are now in various districts. So, their retesting and status report is to be compiled, flight-wise, and sent to the department,” the order said.
Apart from this, the Amritsar Deputy Commissioner has been asked to coordinate with all Deputy Commissioners concerned.
“A report is to be sent to the Government of India as soon as possible. Please try to get it done so that a final report can be sent tomorrow,” the communication said.
The airport authority changed the lab carrying out the tests.
Refused to quarantine in hospital
Whilst passengers into Amritsar airport from Milan were quarantined in hospitals on Wednesday, the passengers from Milan on Friday refused to go to government isolation centres. Instead, they were allowed to isolate at home.
The passengers claimed as they had already undergone the RT-PCR test before boarding the flight, they could not be positive on arrival. They were, therefore, allowed to self-isolate at home.