In these panicky times of the pandemic, two persons from Mumbai and Thane this week got bizarre shockers on their Covid-19 infection status from a government lab, two private labs of a single company, and their status on the Centre’s Aarogya Setu portal.
Within hours after they underwent RTPCR tests, the two men were declared as both Covid-19 “Negative” and “Positive”, playing havoc with their lives, families, neighbourhood, offices and travel plans.
In a strange further development, for one of the two persons who tested negative, the Aarogya Setu team threw up its hands and said that his positive status on the app will change only after he tests negative!
On Monday, a realtor named Vijay P. Agarwal (58) from Malad, who had to step out for some meetings, routinely checked his status on the Aarogya Setu portal and was aghast to find himself mentioned as Covid positive.
“I immediately went into self-isolation, and underwent an RTPCR test from a BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) centre nearby to confirm my infection status. Yesterday (January 11), the BMC test returned negative, creating further confusion,” Agarwal said.
After facing flak for the mega-scare on all fronts, a peeved Agarwal shot off an email to Aarogya Setu authorities seeking an explanation for the misleading status against his name.
In its reply on Wednesday, the Aarogya Setu team said: “COVID-19 positive status will change automatically in the application within 14 days, from the date the user is declared Covid negative.”
“This is even more ridiculous. They are forcing me to remain positive. How can I get a negative report on an existing negative report? They should honour the BMC RTPCR test report and immediately change my status on Aarogya Setu so that I don’t face any hassles,” Agarwal said.
A Thane resident, K.G. (40), who was due to fly to the Gulf last week, had a similar harrowing experience.
He underwent the pre-flight mandatory RTPCR test at a reputed private lab and was relieved to find him as negative. Accordingly, he made preparations for his flight the next day (January 3).
“When I went to the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (CSMIA), I was asked to do another RTPCR test. Shockingly, that report came positive and I could not board the flight,” rued K.G., declining to reveal his full identity, apprehending reprisals.
Ironically, both his tests, received within a gap of barely 24 hours, were conducted by the same lab at its Thane branch and at the CSMIA.
While Agarwal – who has several heart-related comorbidities – recently took the first jab of Covid-19 vaccine and is awaiting the second dose after around 45 days, K.G. was fully vaccinated a few months ago on account of his frequent foreign travels.
As far as K.G. is concerned, he cooled his heels under home isolation for a week, underwent another RT-PCR test, which again came positive on Tuesday, nixing his foreign travel plans further.
Demanding action, the duo slammed the lab authorities for the “sheer negligence” leading to such contradictory RT-PCR reports, which caused turmoil for the unsuspecting victims, with their scared families, neighbours and others shunning or boycotting them completely.
No MVA in Goa; Shiv Sena, NCP to go without Congress
The hope of stitching an MVA like alliance in Goa has not taken off as Congress is unwilling to ally with the Shiv Sena and NCP. The three parties have formed Maha Vikas Aghadi in Maharashtra but in Goa the Congress is already in alliance with Goa Forward Party.
The Congress is not willing to concede more seats to the allies and sources say it thinks that the NCP and the Shiv Sena in the fray will split BJP votes.
Sanjay Raut, Shiv Sena MP said, “NCP and Shiv Sena tried to form an MVA like alliance in Goa but did not get positive response from the Congress.”
The Shiv Sena leader in the past had met Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for the same but things did not work out as Congress assessment is that people will vote for a change. NCP leader Praful Patel has said that his party will contest with Shiv Sena in the state.
The Congress had alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Trinamool Congress were contesting in Goa to split the opposition vote and help the BJP.
Congress Senior observer of Goa, P. Chidambaram said the people are voting either for the BJP or for a regime change.
Chidambaram in a statement said, “My assessment that the AAP (and the TMC) will only fracture the non-BJP vote in Goa has been confirmed by Mr Arvind Kejriwal. The contest in Goa is between Congress and BJP”.
“Those who want a regime change (after 10 years of misrule) will vote for the Congress. Those who want the regime to continue will vote for the BJP. The choice before the voter in Goa is stark and clear. Do you want a regime change or not? I appeal to the voters of Goa to vote for a regime change and vote Congress,” he added.
The Congress is facing a tough battle in Goa while trying to be ahead of the BJP as the Trinamool Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party are spoiling the grand old party’s game in the state.
The Congress is trying to put up a strong face and has denied any alliance talks with the Trinamool despite speculations in the political circles. Jittered by the Congress stance, the Trinamool has launched an offensive against the Congress.
“The Trinamool has been saying that they are open to alliances, but Congress is not willing to accept and behaving like an emperor,” Trinamool leader Mahua Moitra said, adding: “Need of hour in Goa is to defeat BJP – no one should be on their high horse. AITC will not, repeat not, shy away from walking the last mile.”
Devendra Fadnavis demands action over Nana Patole remarks on Modi
The BJP will not keep quiet over Maharashtra Congress president Nana Patole’s alleged controversial remarks against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra Assembly and senior BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis said on Tuesday.
Speaking to reporters in Panaji, Fadnavis also slammed the Maharashtra government for not filing an FIR over Patole’s comments, a video of which had gone viral on Monday.
“Someone called the Maharashtra CM’s wife Rabri devi and an FIR was filed. And here a person who calls himself a leader, threatens to kill the PM and there is no FIR (First Information Report) against him in Maharashtra. This is wrong. We will not keep quiet,” Fadnavis said.
In the video in Bhandara district in Maharashtra, Patole is allegedly heard saying he could beat up and badmouth Modi.
Patole later clarified that he was not referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but a local goon with a similar surname.
Fadnavis, however, hinted at Congress conspiracy against the Prime Minister.
“I feel it is a Congress policy. In Punjab, the security of the PM is compromised and in Maharashtra the president says we will beat the PM. Through this, one can know what he (Patole) really feels about the PM. I feel it is Congress policy and we demand that an FIR and legal action should be taken against Nana Patole because he has spoken about beating the Prime Minister,” Fadnavis said.
Maharashtra Veteran PWP leader Prof N.D. Patil dies at 93
Veteran political leader of Peasants & Workers Party (PWP), an ex-cabinet minister and a four-time legislator, Prof Narayan Dnyandeo Patil passed away following a brief illness, party leaders said here on Monday.
Battling from a recent brain haemorrhage, he breathed his last at a private hospital here early on Monday, aged 93.
Earlier, the fiery leader – who spent over seven decades in public life – was infected by Covid-19 and had recovered from it despite his advanced age.
He dedicated his life to the cause of farmers, peasants, mill-workers, casual labourers, the deprived and downtrodden in society and served as Maharashtra Member of Legislative Council for four terms, and served as a minister from 1978-1990.
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