Government allows on-demand COVID-19 testing without prescription

Healthcare worker collects sample swab from a woman for COVID-19 testing at Basavanagudi in Bengaluru on Sunday. (ANI Photo)

The Union Health Ministry has allowed on-demand COVID-19 testing without a prescription. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Friday issued an advisory suggesting that 100 per cent of people living in containment zones should be tested by rapid antigen tests, particularly in cities where there has been the widespread transmission of the infection.

Under ‘routine surveillance in containment zones and screening at points of entry’, the advisory recommended testing of all asymptomatic high-risk individuals (people above 65 and those with co-morbidities etc.) in containment zones.

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The advisory for testing strategy recommended by the national task force on Covid-19 said that the state governments can decide simplified modalities for on-demand testing.
“Testing on demand for all individuals undertaking travel to countries or Indian states mandating a negative COVID-19 test at the point of entry, and for all individuals who wish to get themselves tested; State governments to decide modalities,” ICMR said.

Besides, it said testing of all symptomatic (ILI symptoms) cases, including healthcare and frontline workers should be done. All asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts (in family and workplace, people aged 65 and above, those who are immunocompromised or have co-morbidities etc) of a laboratory-confirmed case are to be tested once between day 5 and day 10 of coming into contact.

(With inputs from ANI)

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