Amid a spurt of Covid-19 cases, the Central Government has issued fresh guidelines for the coronavirus testing rules to reduce pressure on diagnostic labs.
The need for RT-PCR tests for healthy interstate travellers and Covid patients who have recovered and discharged from hospitals may be completely removed to reduce the load on lab, the Centre said in a circular to states.
According to the new guidelines issued by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the coronavirus testing should not be repeated in individuals who have tested positive once either by RAT or RT-PCR tests. Non-essential travel of people with Covid symptoms should be avoided to minimise the risk of infection. Those undertaking essential travel must follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, the government said.
At present, the laboratories are facing challenges to meet the expected testing target due to extraordinary case load and staff getting infected with Covid-19. In view of this situation, it is imperative to optimize the RT-PCR testing and simultaneously increase the access and availability of testing to all citizens of the country, the ICMR said in a statement.
The states are encouraged to augment mobile testing laboratories available on GeM portal.The testing booth which can be accessed 24×7 may be set up at multiple locations like healthcare facilities, RWA offices, school. Colleges and other available vacant spaces.
The states are advised to utilize as many RT-PCR testing facilities available to them for both public and private laboratories.
Over 2,500 labs in the country are working under tremendous pressure because of the rapidly growing caseloads. The reports of RT-PCR test results are also getting delayed by several days in many Covid-hit states. Hence, more and more people are now opting for expensive CT-scans that can detect signs of the infection in lungs.
Meanwhile, India has been recording over 3 lakh daily coronavirus cases for over a week. In the last 24 hours, the country’s Covid numbers were 3.35 lakh cases and 3,449 deaths in 24 hours.