This State Mandates RT-PCR Test For Every Employee, Every 15 Days; Industry Opposes
Industry bodies in Kolhapur, Pune, Sangli and Satara and the Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA) have objected to the Maharashtra government’s mandate released on Apr 4.
Specifics Of The Order
According to the mandate, industrial, trade and essential service workers yet unvaccinated have to take RT-PCR test every 15 days.
The diktat applies specifically to those engaged in work in ecommerce, hospitality, manufacturing/industrial, etc.
The mandate would come into effect from Apr 10.
The negative test result would be valid until the person develops symptoms after or is considered a close contact of somebody that is infected.
Those who end up testing positive must not be terminated. Rather, they should be put on paid medical leave.
With this rule, the government intends to catch ”super spreaders” working in essential services and to weed them out from the general population and keep them from mingling with others.
Pain Points For Industrial Bodies
Sudhir Mehta, President of MCCIA, has slammed the decision, calling it illogical and lacking any scientific basis.
He said that employers affected by the mandate do not have the lab capacity to carry out the tests.
This will cause delay in testing those that do have symptoms.
He says that industries are taking an economic beating with frequent lockdown and restrictions as it is.
Reasons Behind Opposition
The new mandate will require them to bear costs for the tests being conducted for all their employees which is an economic loss.
Mehta also says that with these costs it is far more prudent to simply vaccinate everybody regardless of age or medical history.
What Does The Science Say?
The virus incubates in 3-5 days and if someone is infected, the symptoms can start manifesting within 5-14 days after exposure to the virus.
This means, in simple terms, that a person who is in close contact with a positive tested person may test negative today.
But if they undergo the same test 5 days later, they will turn out to be positive.
RT-PCR test is valid for only the day that it is taken.
That means that if the person were to take the test again there is no guarantee that the negative results will remain .
The person could contract the virus the very next day and the test would turn out to be positive.
Also, vaccination does not guarantee that the person won’t be able to transmit (albeit at a very low risk) or contract the disease anyway.
Vaccines simply ensure that the patient does not present severe or extreme symptoms requiring intensive care.