ICMR's new advisory for States on COVID-19 testing on demand
By Vivek Raj | Galatta | Sep 05, 2020, 01:33 pm
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) its latest advisory to states has said all people residing in containment zones are to be tested using rapid antigen testing (RAT) kits. This should be carried out at the earliest especially in the cities that are worst-affected due to the COVID-19 outbreak. ICMR has further suggested "testing on demand" for "all individuals undertaking travel to other countries or Indian states mandating a negative COVID-19 test at the point of entry". However, states can choose to alter their approach, as per the new advisory.
"If an individual develops symptoms following a negative RAT (Rapid antigen tests), an RT-PCR test should be done," India's top medical body states in the new guidelines titled "Advisory on Strategy for COVID-19 Testing in India''. The fresh list has been released as India passed four million coronavirus cases and is the third worst-hit nation in the world by the pandemic. The advisory also underlines, "100 percent people living in containment zones should be tested by rapid antigen tests, particularly in cities where there has been widespread transmission of the infection,".
ICMR's advisory further states that no emergency procedure (including deliveries) should be delayed citing lack of tests and pregnant women are not to be referred for a lack of testing facility. It has also suggested steps to designate the methods of testing. "For routine surveillance of containment zones, antigen tests should be first priority For routine surveillance of non-containment zones, RT-PCR tests should be first priority," ICMR's guidelines noted. "For hospital settings, RT-PCR tests should be first priority. For "testing on demand", state governments can decide modalities," it highlights.
India's coronavirus casualty toll has gone past 68,000 persons to date, with Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka currently the worst-hit states.