COVID-19 tests to soon touch 1 crore; 1065 testing labs across India: Union Health Ministry

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The total number of people tested for COVID-19 in the country will soon touch one crore mark as Centre removed all bottlenecks and took steps to pave way for enhanced testing, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) said.

The ministry said that the diagnostic testing network is expanding very fast and there are now 1065 testing labs in the country. “The total number of people being tested for COVID-19 tests in the country will soon touch one crore. This has been possible due to removal of all bottlenecks by Government of India. Various steps taken by the Central Government have paved the way for enhanced testing for COVID-19,” read a release by the MoHFW.

“As on date, 90,56,173 tests have been conducted through a diagnostic testing network which is fast expanding. There are now 1065 testing labs in the country comprising 768 in the public sector and 297 private labs. The per day testing capacity is also fast growing. Yesterday, as many as 2,29,588 people got tested for COVID-19,” it read.
India’s COVID-19 tally breached the 6 lakh cases mark today with 19,148 new coronavirus cases being reported in the last 24 hours, as per the data by the MoHFW.

The total cases now stand at 604,641 of which there are 226,947 active cases while 359,860 patients have been cured/discharged/migrated.

Around 434 deaths have been reported in the last 24 hours taking the number of COVID-19 deaths in the country to 17,834.

The Union Health Ministry said that the Centre announced a significant step and COVID-19 testing can now be done on the prescription of any registered practitioner, and not exclusively a government doctor.

The Centre has strongly advised States/UTs to take immediate steps to facilitate testing at the earliest by enabling all qualified medical practitioners, including private practitioners, to prescribe COVID test to any individual fulfilling the criteria for testing as per ICMR guidelines.

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“Reiterating that ‘Test-Track-Treat’ is the key strategy for early detection and containment of the outbreak, the Centre has advised States/ UTs to take all possible steps to ensure full capacity utilization of all COVID-19 testing laboratories in the State/ UT. This shall ensure full capacity utilization of all labs, especially the private ones, thus hugely benefitting the people,” read the release.

The health ministry said that through a far-reaching move Indian Council of Medical Research has strongly recommended that laboratories should be free to test any individual in accordance to the ICMR guidelines and State authorities must not restrict an individual from getting tested, as early testing will help in containing the virus and saving lives.

The Government of India has urged States to ramp up testing in a big way by using Rapid Antigen Point-of-Care tests in addition to RT-PCR, which is the gold standard for diagnosis of COVlD-19.

The ministry said that the Rapid Antigen test is quick, simple, safe and can be used in containment zones as well as hospitals, as per criteria specified by ICMR for testing.

The Centre has also asked States/UTs are to facilitate testing in a big way by the adoption of ‘campaign mode’ by organizing testing camps, using mobile vans etc.

“This shall effectively take COVID-19 tests to the people’s doorsteps in high incidence areas to collect samples of all symptomatic individuals as well as their contacts, and get those samples tested by using rapid antigen tests,” the ministry said.

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