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Coronavirus: No “indiscriminate evidence”, breaking the chain is key, says government | India News


NEW DELHI: After expanding its testing policy to all hospitalized patients with pneumonia or severe flu symptoms, the government said its strategy remained appropriate and that there was no need for “indiscriminate testing” as the isolation and rupture of the chain of transmission were the key to containing the spread of Covid-19 in India.

India’s approach to testing will continue to focus largely on symptomatic cases with a travel history or those who have been in contact with positive cases. However, the travel history and institutional or domestic quarantine list is quite extensive, even when all international arrivals have been suspended until March 31, when the situation will be reviewed.

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In a briefing on Sunday, the Ministry of Health and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) argued that there was no need for panic as government laboratories had the capacity to analyze 50,000-70,000 samples per week, in addition to the capacity additional that was increasing in private diagnostic laboratories. Some 60 private laboratories have applied for permission, which is being granted. “There should be no indiscriminate testing. Isolation, isolation, isolation is the key to controlling the spread, ”said ICMR CEO Balram Bhargava. India has so far tested more than 17,000 samples, of which 360 tested positive as of Sunday. Currently, it is testing around 5,000 samples per week and the number should increase with the participation of private laboratories and broader testing criteria.

Compared to India, other countries are testing more samples and most of them have not yet been able to stop transmission. According to Balram Bhargava, the United States was testing 26,000 samples per week, while France was doing 10,000 and the United Kingdom was testing 16,000 each week. Indian government sector labs alone could do about 10,000 samples per day, Bhargava said. Bhargava said that those who were isolated and who showed symptoms should be evaluated.

There is a possibility that in many cases, up to 80%, symptoms do not extend beyond mild manifestations. Currently, 111 public laboratories are testing Covid-19 suspects, while 60 private laboratories have requested ICMR approval. The council has already begun registering these laboratories, which will significantly expand the network of laboratories and collection centers. The government has also limited the price of Covid-19 tests at Rs 4500 for private laboratories, while urging them to do so for free or at subsidized rates.

India, so far, has taken a conservative approach to testing, maintaining that unnecessary testing will not help, but will only spread panic and waste resources. In response to a question, Lav Agarwal, the joint secretary of the health ministry, said 1,200 fans had been ordered.

He also said that the personal protective equipment standards were in force and had been recently revised. Under current testing protocol, everyone with a history of international travel in the past 14 days should be quarantined and tested only when they have symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath. In addition, all direct and high-risk contacts, including those living in the same household and health workers who came into direct contact with a confirmed case, must be tested between day 5 and day 14 of entering contact a positive case.

Times of India