As India is experiencing a hike in the number of coronavirus cases, the health ministry has announced that the first and second confirmatory tests for COVID-19 are made free for all citizens.
The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases has crossed 110 in the country. As per a report published by ANI, Sanjeeva Kumar, Special Secretary, Ministry of Health, said that the country has enough capacity as only 10 per cent of the capacity has been utilized per day so far. Earlier, the health ministry has advised the people not to get them tested for Covid-19 if they do not have symptoms (cough, fever or difficulty in breathing).
But in case you have the symptoms or have travelled to countries with coronavirus cases such as Italy and China, you should call to govt helpline number: 011-2397 8046.

The health ministry advisory adds that the helpline service will note down your contact details and contact you with the testing protocols of COVID-19. If you qualify as a case for testing as per the protocol, you will be tested at a Government approved lab only.
Meanwhile, The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is intensifying random sample testing of people who display flu-like symptoms but don’t have a travel history to any coronavirus hit countries to check whether community transmission is taking place or not.
According to a report published in Economic Times, the exercise began on March 15. Each of the 51 Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) laboratories is expected to test ten such samples every week. Between February 15 and 29, ICMR has previously taken 20 samples and tested them at 13 labs across the country to check for community transmission.
Nivedita Gupta, scientist, epidemiology and communicable diseases, ICMR said “Since the number of cases is more, we are more aggressive now. We thought that to rule out community transmission, let’s keep on checking these samples also for the presence for Covid-19.”
She also added that they don’t want to do any indiscriminate testing as now everybody is asking for a test.
According to ICMR director general Balram Bhargava, the testing protocol is a moving target. The testing strategy will be revised in a week if it’s needed to and having looked at the circumstances. “Only those people who have a travel history to coronavirus-hit countries and who have come in contact with confirmed positive patients need to self-quarantine themselves for 14 days,” he added. “During those 14 days, if he becomes symptomatic, he should be laboratory tested. If the person is asymptomatic, he doesn’t need to be tested,” he said.
India has 52 testing centres as of now. Apart from that, the ICMR laboratories have around 100,000 testing kits and an additional 200,000 have already been ordered, according to RR Gangakhedhkar, ICMR Chief Epidemiologist.

Source: Business Today, Economic Times.

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