Crona:Testing Strategy Revised In India, Ambit Widened
NEW DELHI : The “hotspots” for the spread of coronavirus identified and sealed in Delhi and several other states, the Indian Council of Medical Research – the nodal body for the fight against the virus – has amped up testing in these areas.
Now people present in the hotspots, whether connected to the patients or not, will be tested if they are showing symptoms of the disease for at least a week, the medical body said. For the last 20 days, only five categories of people were being tested for coronavirus infection.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged countries to test as widely as possible to curb the pandemic, but India has only been testing those who have travelled from affected countries or come in contact with a confirmed case and shown symptoms after two weeks of quarantine.
The list included symptomatic individuals who undertook international travel in last 14 days, symptomatic contacts of laboratory confirmed cases, symptomatic healthcare workers, patients with acute respiratory illness and asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of confirmed case.
Now ICMR has revised the strategy, allowing people with fever, cough, sore throat and runny nose in hotspot areas with seven days of illness to be tested using RT-PCR (Corona Confirmatory Tests).
The expansion of the scope of the tests comes as the government is considering whether to lift or extend the countrywide lockdown, which is scheduled to end on April 15. With the number of cases on the rise, may states have suggested an extension. But with twin pressures of the economy and the harvest season, there have also been suggestions of a phased lifting of the lockdown, keeping the hotspots of the disease sealed.
Medical experts in nations that have managed to keep the virus under control, have repeatedly underscored the importance of aggressive testing. South Korea has successfully conducted mass testing of their people, with drive though kiosks where swabs were taken and the results texted to the patient after six hours.
India, however, has not been able to procure enough testing kits. The ICMR has tested just 1.27 lakh samples till April 8, out of 133 crore population.
(With ndtv Inputs).