The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued fresh guidelines for Covid-19 testing as the laboratories face challenges to meet the expected testing target due to the rise in caseload.
The ICMR recommended measures to optimize RTPCR testing, which states –
- RTPCR test must not be repeated in any individual who has tested positive once either by RAT or RTPCR.
- No testing is required for COVID-19 recovered individuals at the time of hospital discharge in accordance with the discharge policy of Ministry of Health.
- The need for RTPCR test in healthy individuals undertaking inter-state domestic travel may be completely removed to reduce the load on laboratories.
- Non-essential travel and interstate travel of symptomatic individuals (COVID-19 or flu like symptoms) should be essentially avoided to reduce the risk of infection.
- All asymptomatic individuals undertaking essential travel must follow COVID appropriate behavior.
- Mobile testing laboratories are now available on GeM portal. States are encouraged to augment RTPCR testing through mobile systems.
— ICMR (@ICMRDELHI) May 4, 2021
The ICMR also suggested some measures to ramp up testing through RAT. Some of them are –
- RAT may be allowed at all available Government and private healthcare facilities.
- Set up dedicated RAT booths in cities, towns and villages to offer testing to people.
- Testing booths may be set up at multiple locations including healthcare facilities, RWA, offices, schools, colleges, community centers and other available vacant spaces.
- These booths should be operational on a 24X7 basis to improve access and availability of testing.
- Drive-through RAT testing facilities may be created at convenient locations as identified by local administration.
- Stringent measures must be instituted to avoid overcrowding at RAT testing facilities.
The overall nationwide test positivity rate has gone above 20 per cent in the past month. India has 2,506 molecular testing laboratories, including RT-PCR, TrueNat, CBNAAT, and other platforms, as of May 4. According to the ICMR, as many as 29,48,52,078 samples were tested upto 4th May 2021. Of these 15,41,299 samples were tested yesterday:
Also, India registered 3,82,315 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, said the union health ministry on Wednesday morning. With this, the cumulative count of the cases has gone up to 2,06,65,148.