Delhi

To increase testing, ask ICMR to change guidelines: AAP Minister

Food being distributed to homeless people near Jama Masjid in Old Delhi on Saturday.

Food being distributed to homeless people near Jama Masjid in Old Delhi on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Delhi govt. had recently issued fresh testing guidelines

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Saturday said that to increase the number of people being tested in the city, the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) will have to be changed. The statement came a day after the Supreme Court asked the Delhi government to explain a dip in COVID-19 testing.

“If you want to increase testing, then request ICMR to change its guidelines. Testing can be done only as per the ICMR guidelines and they clearly mention who should be tested and who shouldn’t. You can tell the Central gove-rnment or the ICMR to open it for all, but if you allow everyone, one lakh people may come for testing in a day and your number will come after a month,” said Mr. Jain.

People can get tested for COVID-19 if they fall under different categories mentio-ned in the ICMR guidelines.

The Delhi government had on June 2 issued fresh guidelines on COVID-19 testing, tweaking the ICMR guidelines issued on May 18, reducing the scope of people who can be tested. Now the government is saying that it cannot go beyond the ICMR guidelines to test more categories of people.

‘States can tweak’

Asked about the flexibility of the guidelines, Delhi Medical Association president Girish Tyagi said, “In consultation with the ICMR, States can tweak them.”

Mr. Jain’s party colleague and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said he has written to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, urging him to do away with stringent guidelines. “I have requested the Health Minister to provide more licences to pathological labs and more testing kits to State governments. If a person feels they have symptoms, they should immediately go to the nearby lab and get tested,” he said.

On Friday, the Supreme Court had asked the Delhi government to explain why its COVID-19 testing had dipped from 7,000 to 5,000 a day, when other equally affected cities such as Chennai and Mumbai had increased their testing from 16,000 to 17,000.

The number of daily tests in the Capital had dropped to 3,700 and have now picked up to above 5,000. The 40 labs in the city can conduct 8,600 COVID-19 tests per day, the Delhi government had informed the High Court earlier this week.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 10:44:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/to-increase-testing-ask-icmr-to-change-guidelines-aap-minister/article31824048.ece

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