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Opinion

Test, test, test and test – editorials

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The Indian dashboard showed 216,677 cases of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and 6,005 deaths on Wednesday night. The corresponding numbers for Delhi were 23,645 and 606. The number of cases continues to increase, in India and in Delhi. The country added 9,565 cases on Wednesday; the Capital added 1,513. The pandemic has not yet peaked here. This should be a time when testing should be fast, comprehensive and indiscriminate.

We are told that resources, when it comes to testing, are no longer a constraint: that we have the people, the reagents, and the team to screen more people, and to do it quickly. We are told that there are techniques like clustering that can be used to analyze many samples at once and then limit the infection. So why is it so difficult to get tested? This is true across the country, but especially in Delhi, which recently changed its testing guidelines to say that asymptomatic direct contacts of infected people, including close family members, will only be assessed if they are at high risk, meaning they have over a certain age. , or have comorbidities. They will be asked to quarantine, but will not be tested. While other states, including Maharashtra, which has the majority of cases in India, allow testing of all asymptomatic direct contacts, they have their own filters that make this difficult. For example, someone with a cough, but who is not in a containment zone, or has not been exposed to an infected person, or has not traveled abroad, will have to jump through hoops to get tested anywhere in the India, even in a private laboratory Since positivity rates remain the same or even increase in many states, this is the proportion of people who test positive for the number of tests performed, it is hard to believe that states are not doing Testing is difficult just to keep your numbers down, and they do well in some irrelevant and imaginary contest. Even Kerala, whose test stats are lousy, is no exception to this.

It is time for the Indian Council of Medical Research to relax the testing guidelines and standardize them across India to ensure that anyone who has symptoms, or who has had contact with an infected person, or who is in the most vulnerable (senior citizens and those with other ailments) can be tested, and that is in the first phase. In the second phase, anyone who wants to have an exam (young, old, symptomatic, asymptomatic) should be able to have an exam; and the government should pay for those who cannot pay for themselves. Three months after a pandemic in India, and after 68 days of closure, it is not acceptable to say that the country has no evidence.

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