COVID-19 tests in India cross 3 crore-mark

PTI, Aug 17, 2020, 7:15 PM IST

New Delhi: The total number of tests for detection of COVID-19 has crossed the 3 crore-mark in India, with the Union Health Ministry asserting on Monday that the “new landmark” has been achieved due to expanded diagnostic lab network and facilitation for easy testing across the country.

A total of 3,00,41,400 samples have been tested until August 16 with 7,31,697 samples being tested on Sunday, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said.

In a testament to the focussed, consistent and coordinated efforts of the Centre, and the State and UT governments, India has set a new landmark of conducting three crore tests, the Union Health Ministry said in a statement.

Expanded diagnostic lab network and facilitation for easy testing across the country have given a substantial boost to the testing capacity, it said.

“With 7,31,697 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, India is on its resolved drive to increase its testing capacity to 10 lakh tests daily,” the ministry said. Building on this achievement, the Tests Per Million (TPM) have seen a sharp increase to 21,769, it said.

While the cumulative testing rose from 1.2 crores on July 14 to three crore on August 16, the positivity rate has seen a rise from 7.5 per cent to 8.81 per cent in the same period, the statement said.

“Although higher number of tests will push the positivity rate initially, but as the Delhi experience has amply shown, it will eventually lower when combined with other measures such as prompt isolation, tracking and timely clinical management,” the ministry said.

Noting that aggressive testing leads to early identification and isolation of COVID-19 positive cases, the ministry said this coupled with efficient clinical treatment brings the fatality rate down.

“Thus, enhanced and timely testing is not only keeping the Positivity Rate low but also the Fatality Rate low,” it said.

A prominent determinant of the evolving testing strategy is the steadily widening diagnostic lab network in the country, the ministry. This has significantly grown from one lab at Pune in early January 2020 to 1,470 today, including 969 labs in the government sector and 501 private labs, it said.

The total number of labs comprise 754 Real-Time RT PCR-based testing labs, 599 TrueNat-based testing labs and 117 CBNAAT-based testing labs.

India’s COVID-19 tally rose to 26,47,663 on Monday with a single-day spike of 57,981 infections, while the death toll crossed the 50,000 mark with 941 fresh fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

The recoveries surged to 19,19,842, pushing the recovery rate to 72.51 per cent, the data updated at 8 am showed.

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