Don’t repeat RT-PCR tests on those tested COVID-19 positive: ICMR

It is also against tests simply for inter-State travel

May 05, 2021 01:26 am | Updated 01:27 am IST - NEW DELHI

A health worker collecting nasal swab for RT-PCR test in Palakkad, Kerala. File photo

A health worker collecting nasal swab for RT-PCR test in Palakkad, Kerala. File photo

Citing the increased load on laboratories, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday issued an advisory on testing during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recommendations advise against repeating of RT-PCR tests on those who have tested positive.

RT-PCR testing on healthy individuals undertaking inter-State travel may be completely stopped to reduce the load on laboratories, the ICMR said.

The ICMR said India had 2,506 molecular testing laboratories with the daily capacity “close to 15 lakh tests”.

“At present, the laboratories are facing challenges to meet the expected testing target due to extraordinary case load and staff getting infected with COVID-19,” the ICMR said.

The ICMR recommended that RT-PCR tests should not be repeated on individuals who have tested positive once through Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or RT-PCR. It said no testing was required once a COVID-19 patient recovered and is discharged from hospital.

The ICMR suggested that States set up mobile testing systems. The advisory also said RAT should be upscaled to meet the demand and that States should decide on the payment modalities.

The advisory said all those showing symptoms of fever with or without cough, headache, sore throat, breathlessness, body ache, recent loss of taste or smell, fatigue and diarrhoea during the current wave of COVID-19 should be treated as suspected cases of COVID-19 unless proven otherwise.

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