Covid-19: With rapid test kits, Kerala to test people with fewer symptoms

Our Bureau Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on April 04, 2020 Published on April 04, 2020

Currently, 130 government labs and 52 private labs are involved in the ‘Real Time Polymerase Chain Reaction’ tests   -  MONEY SHARMA

Kerala is ready to kick off rapid tests to detect Covid-19 infections in humans with the first batch of test R-PCR (rapid-polymerase chain reaction) kits from Mylab laboratory in Pune arriving here on Friday. The next batch of 2,000 kits is expected to arrive on Sunday, which would help ramp up testing in the state.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the rapid test kits will allow testing of a person with only one or two known symptoms, instead of the four or five as per current protocol. "Currently we carry out a test on a person with 4-5 symptoms but from now on we will do it even if there are only 1-2 symptoms. This will also allow us to do scale up the number of the tested."

Ramping up tests

The advantage here is that the infection could be detected in two-and-a-half hours, against the current normal of around seven hours. The tests kits were brought here thanks to the Rs 57 lakh granted by Shashi Tharoor, MP from Thiruvananthapuram, from the MPLAD funds. But the Chief Minister cautioned that those who test negative using the rapid test kit would still have to continue under observation since it is possible that they might test positive at a later stage.


On Friday, the state recorded two deaths from the virus, and has 1,69,997 persons are under observation - 1,69,291 at home and 706 in hospitals. Total number of samples sent for testing till date are 9,139 of which 8,126 are negative. On Friday, hospitals in the state saw 154 new admissions.

Total confirmed cases 295

Nine fresh cases of infection were reported on Friday - seven from Kasargod district and one each from Thrissur and Kannur. Out of the 295 confirmed cases in the state till date, 251 are currently under treatment in various hospitals. At least 206 had come from abroad, seven are foreign nationals (tourists) and 78 are primary contacts of infected persons.

In Kottayam, an old couple who had multiple underlying diseases and were in serious condition were discharged from the hospital on Friday. They were infected by kin who has arrived from Italy. "We see their recovery as an achievement and a testimony to our healthcare system and that all health workers involved," the Chief Minister said.

The Chief Minister also announced the formation of a 17-member task force to come out with recommendations on a phased return to normalcy after the the lockdown. The task force consisting of eminent persons would be headed by former chief secretary KM Abraham as convenor. The Prime Minister had on Thursday invited suggestions from the State governments on how to address the phase after the lockdown.


Published on April 04, 2020

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