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Covid-19: India has 30 days to stop the start of stage III, says DG ICMR | India News


NEW DELHI: India is in stage II of the Covid-19 outbreak, where transmission of the disease is limited to those with a history of travel to affected countries and others in contact with infected people, and government efforts they are geared towards halting or at least delaying progression to the next stage, said the director-general of the Indian Council for Medical Research, Balram Bhargava.

Progression to the next stage may eventually happen, but by delaying it, India is better preparing to locate and contain the situation, Dr. Bhargava said. “India has around a 30-day window to stop the start of community transmission of Covid-19 cases. The time to act is now,” he said.

In stage III, the virus begins to spread throughout the community. This is followed by stage IV, when the disease takes the form of an epidemic, when ongoing transmission has no clear end point. China and Italy are in stage VI of the Covid-19 outbreak. Bhargava said the government is taking all possible containment measures to stop, or at least delay, the progression of the outbreak to stage III.

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Dr. R R Gangakhedkar, the ICMR chief epidemiologist, said that only those with symptoms of Covid-19 were being evaluated as present. “All people with flu symptoms do not need to be tested because the spread of the disease is currently limited. Even among those with a history of travel or possible contact with an infected person, testing is recommended only if they have Covid symptoms. – 19. This is because if the test is performed on an asymptomatic individual, the viral load is likely to be lower and this may give false negative results. Such an individual may have a false sense of security and continue to spread the disease, ” said. ICMR scientists said the notice on testing can be changed if there is enough evidence that Covid-19 reaches stage III.

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“At ICMR, we have a network of 106 virus diagnostic and research laboratories (VRDL) across the country. We collect samples for influenza-like illness (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infections (SARI) on a regular basis. February 15 and on February 29, we asked 13 of these labs to take 20 random samples and test them for Covid-19 to see if the new coronavirus had also spread in the community. All samples tested negative. The exercise will be repeated. on March 15 to assess whether community transmission is happening or not. Depending on the findings, additional steps will be taken on the testing guidelines, “said the head of ICMR.

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But does India have enough test kits to extend the diagnosis if Covid-19 spreads exponentially, affecting communities or taking epidemic proportions? Bhargava said that, in terms of testing capacity, the available labs are currently underutilized. “The 51 laboratories designated to analyze Covid-19 swab samples are capable of performing 4,590 tests daily. Currently, we are only obtaining between 60 and 70 samples per day. Therefore, at present, the laboratories are heavily underused. Going forward, if demand increases, we have made arrangements to ensure that the network of laboratories can expand soon enough to handle the situation, “said ICMR CEO.

“There are more than 57 sample collection centers where this is currently being done. These can be easily expanded. For testing, we require two key chemicals, the primer and the probe. The primer can be prepared locally while the probes that We have to buy. The ICMR laboratory network has one lakh probes available and two additional lakh probes are being purchased. We have also been contacted by major international companies that have prepared test kits and are willing to supply them as well. Based on the Validating your claims for testing and the need, we will procure more chemical agents and kits to ensure there is no shortage of testing facilities, “Bhargava said. ICMR experts said they were not yet thinking of private laboratories and hospitals for testing. “We will think about that if the need arises,” they said.

India has conducted 6,500 tests of which, according to the data, only 78 (1.4%) have been confirmed as positive. “We have also examined almost 1,000 people who have been evacuated from China, Iran and Italy,” said an ICMR official, adding that India was well prepared for any situation.

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