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Opinion

Carry out specific Covid-19 tests in large meetings: Center – health

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The Center has asked states to conduct saturation tests to detect coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in places where people are likely to gather in large numbers, such as offices, religious venues and markets, among others, said a senior official of the Union Ministry of Health. with the development said on Monday.

Saturation testing, in which everyone is tested for Covid-19, will increase random testing to monitor the spread of the viral infection. The notice is not mandatory and states will decide where to test, who to test, how often to test and how to fund the tests, the official said.

“It is a warning to the states of our experts as one of the measures to cut the cycle of disease transmission. Once the sites are identified, everyone there should be screened for the disease. After completing the test, those who tested negative for the virus should be followed for a period of at least five to 10 days, as that is the incubation period seen so far. Confirmation tests should be carried out in those people who present symptoms, ”said the official from the Ministry of Health.

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The tests can be repeated periodically according to the requirement and the positivity rate.

“Many times, you see that people in the workplace bring the infection from within the community or bring the disease to the community where they live; And it can be the cause of a super spread event where large numbers of people are at risk of becoming infected. In this way, the infection can be detected early and close contacts can be traced in time to control the spread, ”said Dr. VK Paul, member (health), Niti Aayog, on the scope of the specific tests, during a briefing on Covid-19 last week.

Although experts say it would be ideal to cover as many places as possible, due to logistical concerns, high-risk areas can be prioritized.

“Since the virus does not discriminate, saturation tests should be as widespread as possible. But the final call will be on the states on whether to test across the board or in areas from where clustering is reported or in high-risk areas, and to seek the necessary criteria for selecting target groups or areas for testing. The role of the Center is to advise on what can best be done to control the situation, ”said Dr. SK Singh, director of the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC).

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For mass testing, the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), the body that has spearheaded the Covid-19 testing initiative in the country, recommends rapid antigen testing (RAT).

“In places where large-scale tests with rapid results are required, RAT is recommended. However, there are certain conditions that must be met, such as performing a confirmatory RT-PCR test in cases of symptomatic RAT negative results, etc. ”Said an ICMR official.

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