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New Delhi, July 2, 2020
The Union Government today announced the removal of restrictions in COVID-19 tests that barred the participation of private practitioners.
With the removal of all such bottlenecks, the total tests will soon touch 1 crore, the Health Ministry said in a press release.
As on date, 90,56,173 tests have been conducted through a diagnostic testing network which is fast expanding. There are now 1,065 testing labs in the country comprising 768 in the public sector and 297 private labs.
The per-day testing capacity is also fast growing. Yesterday, as many as 2,29,588 people got tested for COVID-19.
Through a significant step announced by the Central Government, COVID-19 testing can now be done on the prescription of any registered practitioner, and not exclusively a Government doctor.
The Centre has advised States/UTs to take immediate steps to facilitate testing at the earliest by enabling all qualified medical practitioners, including private practitioners, to prescribe COVID test to any individual fulfilling the criteria for testing as per ICMR guidelines.
Reiterating that ‘Test-Track-Treat’ is the key strategy for early detection and containment of the outbreak, the Centre has advised States/ UTs to take all possible steps to ensure full capacity utilization of all COVID-19 testing laboratories in the State/ UT.
Through a far-reaching move, ICMR has strongly recommended that laboratories should be free to test any individual in accordance with the ICMR Guidelines and State authorities must not restrict an individual from getting tested, as early testing will help in containing the virus and saving lives.
The Government has urged the States to ramp up testing in a big way by using Rapid Antigen Point-of-Care tests in addition to RT-PCR, which is the gold standard for diagnosis of COVlD-19. The Rapid Antigen test is quick, simple, safe and can be used in containment zones as well as hospitals, as per criteria specified by ICMR for testing. ICMR is validating ore such kits are to increase the available options to the citizens.
The Centre has also asked States and Union Territories to facilitate testing in a big way by the adoption of a "campaign mode" by organizing testing camps, using mobile vans etc. This will effectively take COVID-19 tests to the people’s doorsteps in high incidence areas to collect samples of all symptomatic individuals as well as their contacts and get those samples tested by using rapid antigen tests.