Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 1
The central government asked states on Wednesday to ramp up COVID-19 testing in campaign mode, hold camps and use mobile vans to collect samples of symptomatic people from high incidence areas and check them with an antigen test.
“The positive individuals should be treated as per COVID treatment regime and the negative individuals should be tested with RTPCR,” Health Secretary Preeti Sudan and ICMR chief Balram Bhargava wrote in a joint letter to state chief secretaries.
Noting that “test-tract-treat” is key strategy for early COVID-19 detection and treatment, the Centre said states must augment their capacity to collect and test samples from symptomatic persons as recommended by ICMR.
“It has been observed that in some states and UTs, the capacity utilization of the testing labs particularly in private sector, is grossly sub optimal. It is advised to take steps to ensure full capacity utilization of all COVID testing labs in your areas,” the letter said.
In another important shift the Centre asked states to allow all doctors, including private ones, to recommend COVID-19 test. “Some states have mandated the need of a prescription from a government doctor for making an individual eligible to undergo COVID19 test. Due to pressure on government facilities this will delay matters. It is absolutely necessary at this juncture to facilitate testing by enabling all qualified medical practitioners including private ones to prescribe a COVID test to any individual fulfilling ICMR criteria,” the letter said.
India’s testing capacity is three lakh samples daily, but only 2,17,931 samples were tested in the last 24 hours.