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Coronavirus | Doctor’s prescription not mandatory for COVID-19 test

Test away: State authorities must not restrict any individual from getting tested, the Ministry said.

Test away: State authorities must not restrict any individual from getting tested, the Ministry said.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Test-track-treat is the way forward to containing the novel coronavirus and saving lives, the Union Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

It advised the States and the Union Territories to allow all medical practitioners to prescribe the COVID-19 test for any individual meeting the conditions or testing as per the guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The Ministry said some States and Union Territories mandated a prescription from a government doctor for an individual to undergo the COVID-19 test. “In view of the increased load on government healthcare facilities, this mandatory requirement may at times pose an impediment to an individual to get tested and lead to unnecessary delays. At this juncture, it is absolutely necessary 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 or testing as per ICMR guidelines,” it said in its communication.

It said the ICMR recommends that laboratories be free to test any individual in accordance with its guidelines, and the State authorities must not restrict any individual from getting tested, as early testing will help in containing the spread of the virus and saving lives.

Also read: High-risk contacts don’t need prescription for test

The Ministry noted that test-track-treat is the key strategy for early detection and containment. “It is important to augment testing for COVID in all parts of the country. This is the only way to detect the infection early and prevent its spread. To ramp up testing in the country, the ICMR has so far approved a total of 1,049 public and private labs... Of these, 761 are in the public sector and 288 are in the private sector. However, it has observed that in some States and Union Territories, the capacity utilization of the testing labs, particularly in the private sector, is grossly sub-optimal. It is strongly advised that steps be taken to ensure full capacity utilization for COVID-19 testing,” the Ministry said.

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2020 3:55:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-doctors-prescription-not-mandatory-for-covid-19-test/article31964987.ece

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