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Confirmed Covid-19 cases in India cross 40 lakh

Our Bureau September 5 | Updated on September 05, 2020 Published on September 05, 2020

ICMR unveils revised Covid-19 testing strategy

As the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in India crossed 40 lakh, with the addition of over 86,000 fresh cases in the last 24 hours, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) unveiled a modified Covid-19 testing strategy for containment zones and outside.

With 40 lakh cases, India is now very close to Brazil, which ranks second in the global Covid-19 tally.

Over 31 lakh Indians have already recovered. There are about 8.46 lakh active Covid-19 patients in the country. As many as 69,561 persons succumbed to the infection, including 1,089 in the last 24 hours.

The number of daily cases is steadily rising in India because many major States including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh are still reporting more cases. Even Delhi, which had earlier reported a dip in new cases, is now reporting more cases.

Meanwhile, the ICMR has come out with a modified advisory which calls for expanding the scope of Covid-19 testing in the country.

It suggested that all people living in containment zones should ideally be tested using the rapid antigen test (RAT), particularly in cities which have witnessed widespread transmission of the infection.

Also, in containment zones, RAT should be the primary choice of testing, followed by real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), TrueNat or cartridge-based nucleic acid amplification test (CBNAAT) in terms of preference. It recommended testing all symptomatic cases in containment zones, including healthcare and frontline workers. Similarly, all asymptomatic and direct contacts of lab-confirmed Covid-19 patients should also be tested. ICMR also says testing should be made compulsory for high-risk population (elderly people above 65 years or those with co-morbidities) in containment zones.

For routine surveillance in non-containment zones, the primary choice of test would be RT-PCR, TruNat or CBNAAT. RAT could be the second choice.

The testing should be done on all symptomatic people who travelled abroad within 14 days, migrants with symptoms in seven days and all asymptomatic high-risk contacts of confirmed cases.

In hospital settings, all patients with severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) or influenza-like illness (ILI) symptoms, and all asymptomatic high-risk patients (aged above 65 years, immuno-compromised individuals, patients diagnosed with malignant disease or patients with co-morbidities and transplant patients) should be subjected to Covid-19 test. The order of preference in hospital conditions would be RT-PCR or its variants, followed by RAT.

The ICMR said its advisory is generic in nature and States are free to suitably modify it to suit their requirements.

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Published on September 05, 2020
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