Coronavirus (COVID-19): With the arrival of one lakh kits in the state, the Andhra Pradesh government on Sunday ramped up COVID-19 testing in the four worst-affected districts—Kurnool, Guntur, Krishna and Nellore—from 3,000-5,000 tests per day to 17,500 tests.

While 158 positive cases have been reported in Kurnool so far, 129 cases have been reported from Guntur, 75 cases from in Krishna and 67 cases from Nellore. With 44 new cases reported in the last two days, the number of cases in the state has gone up to 647.

The testing kits arrived on Friday from South Korea.

In another decision, the government has also started a pilot project to home-deliver fruits in parcels costing Rs 100 each. State Agriculture Minister K Kannababu said the state had witnessed a bumper crop of fruit but there is no sale because of the ongoing nationwide lockdown. “Why let them rot? We can sell packets comprising 3-4 varieties of fruits at cheap rates,’’ he said.

The government has already procured 7,000 metric tonnes of bananas directly from farmers, the minister said. The pilot project has been launched in Kurnool – which has over 50 containment zones. The parcels being home delivered contain 20 fruits. Officials of the Agricultural Marketing Department have been tasked with arranging deliveries.

“The government is procuring all the fruits directly from the farmers so that they do not face any loss during this crisis. This not only helps the government utilise the produce, but also ensures availability of nutritious and good quality fruits to citizens at their doorstep,’’ an official said.

For preparing masks, the government has also pressed 40,000 members of women’s Self Help Groups into service. These groups will make a total of 16 crore masks for distribution to the public in line with with the government’s earlier decision to provide each person in the state with 3 masks.

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