Amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre has issued revised guidelines to states to reduce the burden on diagnostic laboratories conducting coronavirus tests.
New Delhi: Amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centre has issued revised guidelines to states to reduce the burden on diagnostic laboratories conducting coronavirus tests. The need for RT-PCR test in “healthy” travellers and recovered COVID-19 patients may be completely removed, it said
The advisory was issued by the Indian Medical Centre of Research (ICMR) in view of laboratories facing challenges to meet the expected testing target due to exponential cases and staff getting infected with COVID-19
“At present, the laboratories are facing challenges to meet the expected testing target due to extraordinary caseload and staff getting infected with COVID-19. In view of this situation, it is imperative to optimize the RT-PCR testing and simultaneously increase the access and availability of testing to all citizens of the country,” the apex health research body said.
As a result, these individuals do not need RT-PCR tests anymore:
- Any individual who has tested positive once either by RAT or RT-PCR
- Any individual who has completed 10 days in home isolation period with no fever for the last three days
- Those getting discharged from the hospital
- Healthy individuals undertaking inter-state domestic travel
Non-essential travel and interstate travel of symptomatic individuals (COVID-19 or flu-like symptoms) should be essentially avoided to reduce the risk of infection and that all asymptomatic individuals undertaking essential travel must follow COVID appropriate behaviour, the ICMR stated.
The ICMR also advised all states to ensure full utilization of the available RT-PCR testing capacity, both in public and private laboratories, and added that symptomatic individuals identified positive by RAT should not be re-tested and advised to go through home-based care as per ICMR guidelines.
An unprecedented upsurge of COVID-19 cases and deaths is currently being witnessed across India. The overall nationwide test positivity rate is above 20 per cent. Testing-tracking-tracing, isolation and home-based treatment of positive patients is the key measure to curb transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the causative agent of COVID-19
So far, the ICMR has approved 36 RATs of which 10 are on GeM portal. To meet the overwhelming testing demand, it will be prudent to upscale testing using RATs, the advisory said.