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COVID-19 tests in India cross one-crore mark

A health worker collects swab sample for COVID-19 test at Merchants Chamber of Commerce office in Kochi. File

A health worker collects swab sample for COVID-19 test at Merchants Chamber of Commerce office in Kochi. File  

COVID-19 tests in India crossed the one crore mark on Monday with 1,01,35,525 cumulative samples tested so far, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Monday. In the past 24 hours about 3,46,459 samples were tested. 

The Council has now recommended that all labs/hospitals initiating testing through rapid antigen tests should ensure that symptomatic patients, who have tested negative in the rapid testing, should be referred for real-time RT-PCR testing also.

The Council has also written to all States/UTs directing all private labs undertaking TrueNat/CBNAAT-based testing for COVID-19 to apply for NABL accreditation to ensure quality testing.

The Health Ministry added that it is now advocating widespread testing and has also informed the States that increased focus has to be on “Test, Trace, Treat” strategy.

Also read: Coronavirus India lockdown Day 104 updates

Growing lab network

“India has been able to cross the one crore test mark by the continuously expanding network of testing labs throughout the country. As on date, more than 1105 labs across the country are offering COVID tests. There are 788 labs in the government sector and 317 private labs,” noted a release issued by the Ministry.

The Health Ministry has also released guidelines to deal with mental health concerns during the pandemic: “Mental health in the times of COVID-19 pandemic” which looks at the unprecedented challenge to mental health care across all settings in India. The document has been put together by the Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience.

Also read: India increases testing capacity to 1 lakh a day

“Given the likely magnitude of the pandemic and the patchy availability of specialist mental health care across the country, it has become necessary for all non-psychiatric health care professionals who often form the frontline of the health care response to provide 'whatever is possible',” the guidelines said. 

“The care of psychiatrically ill takes a back seat in pandemics. While this needs to be addressed, it is necessary that day-to-day psychiatric practice be recalibrated to ensure greater sensitivity regarding infection transmission,” it added.

Also read: Why is it necessary to test more to reduce the impact of COVID-19?

Detailed guidelines

The document has two parts; the first is guidelines for non-psychiatric medical professionals to address mental health needs of the community and in COVID-19 treatment centres while the second part provides recommendations for psychiatrists to ensure safety during their day-to-day practice amid the disease outbreak.

“Planning and policy-making are critical to ensure program effectiveness. It is essential to ensure that mental health is integrated into the broad framework of COVID-19 health care response to ensure adequate and appropriate care to the many thousands who are psychologically disturbed following the pandemic,” notes the document.

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Printable version | Aug 16, 2020 1:43:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/covid-19-tests-in-india-cross-one-crore-mark/article32003809.ece

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