Centre asks states/UTs to enhance testing capabilities to deal with COVID-19 pandemic; Recovery rate reaches 62.72%

Mumbai: Health workers wearing PPE suits conduct a free COVID-19 screening of the residents, at Malad in Mumbai, Monday, July 20, 2020. (PTI Photo)(PTI20-07-2020_000099B)

The Central Government has asked the States and Union Territories Governments to increase testing capacities to deal with Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter written to all the States and Union Territories’ Governments, the Health and Family Welfare Ministry and the Indian Council of Medical Research said that the evolving scenario demands for enhanced testing capabilities to handle any surge in testing demand.

The Central Government said, more labs for COVID-19 testing should be added and existing testing capacity can be enhanced. Government has also devised a strategy to enhance the testing which includes short term and long term measures.

As a short term measure, the Central Government has suggested that RT-PCR machines available with the research and educational institutions under the State and Central Government be temporarily deployed in the District Hospitals and testing labs. Besides, the States and Union Territories have been asked to procure rapid antigen kits to enhance their testing potential. The Health Ministry said, addition of private diagnostic labs with two RT PCR machines each will enhance the capacity by 48 thousand tests per day. It advised to add at least five labs per State into the network.

As a medium term measure, the Central Government has asked the Government labs to procure 123 RT PCR machines which will enhance the capacity by 29 thousand 520 tests per day. The Health Ministry said, each government lab should have at least 2 RT PCR machines and one automated RNA extraction machine. It added that in 123 government labs, there is only one RT PCR machine.

The Ministry has advised that the District hospitals need to be provided with a BSL-11 facility with at least one RT PCR machine. It said, ICMR is procuring 125 automated RNA extraction machines and the state governments must procure additional RNA extraction machines to enhance testing capacity significantly.

Government today said a total of seven lakh 24 thousand 578 people infected with Covid-19 have recovered in the country so far and the recovery rate is 62.72 per cent in India. And the case fatality rate continues to decline in the country and has come down to 2.43 per cent.