China releases 6.5 lakh rapid testing kits for Covid ordered by India

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on April 16, 2020 Published on April 16, 2020

Kits will play a key role in community testing, decision on lifting of restrictions

The first lot of the much-awaited rapid antibody testing kits from China, to test for Covid-19 cases in the country, has finally been released by Beijing. These will land in India shortly.

“A total of 6.5 lakh kits are on the way to India. They were Customs-cleared on Wednesday night and left for India on Thursday morning,” an official aware of the development told BusinessLine.

The shipment includes 3 lakh rapid antibody testing kits from Guangzhou Wondfo and 2.5 lakh from Zhuhai Livzon. About 1 lakh RNA extraction kits from MGI Shenzhen are also on their way to India, the official added.

“The entire transaction has been coordinated by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Indian Embassy in Beijing, and the Consulate in Guangzhou has also played a key role,” he added.

Rapid antibody testing kits are crucial in a country’s fight against Covid-19 as they are a quick way to search for infection in clusters. A positive test means a person is infected while a negative means the person is safe. The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) wants to use these kits to identify cases in hotspots (red zones), where the number of infections is large.

“With India deciding to partially lift lockdown restrictions from April 20 and selectively allow economic activities including manufacturing, there is a greater need to perform community testing,” the official said.

The delay in China’s release of the testing kits, ordered by India in March-end, had created anxiety among Indian officials about whether these would at all get delivered. New Delhi, reportedly, was trying to reach out to other countries such as Singapore, South Korea and Switzerland for the kits as an alternative source of supply.

In India, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases has crossed 12,000, with more than 400 deaths.

Published on April 16, 2020

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