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.