Coronavirus | Ramp up COVID-19 testing, Health Ministry tells States, UTs

Total tests to touch soon 1 crore.

Updated - July 03, 2020 12:18 am IST

Published - July 02, 2020 03:29 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Rapid antigen test of COVID-19 at a government school in north west Delhi area at Adarsh Nagar, in New Delhi on Thursday.

Rapid antigen test of COVID-19 at a government school in north west Delhi area at Adarsh Nagar, in New Delhi on Thursday.

The total number of people being tested for COVID-19 in the country would soon touch one crore, the Health Ministry said on Thursday. As on date, 90,56,173 tests have been conducted through diagnostic testing network, which was fast expanding, it noted.

“There are now 1,065 testing labs in the country, comprising 768 in the public sector and 297 private labs. The per day testing capacity is also fast growing. Yesterday, as many as 2,29,588 people got tested for COVID-19,” said the Ministry.

The Union government has directed all States/UTs to ramp up testing in a big way by using the Rapid Antigen Point-of-Care test in addition to RT-PCR, which is the gold standard for diagnosis of COVlD-19.

“Rapid Antigen test is quick, simple, safe and can be used in containment zones as well as hospitals, as per criteria specified by ICMR for testing,” the Ministry stated.

 

States/UTs have also been directed to facilitate testing in a big way by adoption of 'campaign mode' by organizing testing camps, using mobile vans etc.

“This shall effectively take COVID-19 tests to the people’s doorsteps in high incidence areas to collect samples of all symptomatic individuals as well as their contacts, and get those samples tested by using rapid antigen tests,” the Ministry said.

Also read | Can antibody tests help tackle COVID-19?

WHO on mental health

The World Health Organisation (South-east Asia region), meanwhile, on Thursday said mental health and suicide prevention needed greater attention during the pandemic.

“Hitting lives and livelihoods, the pandemic is causing fear, anxiety, depression and stress among people. Social distancing, isolation and coping with perpetually evolving and changing information about the virus has both triggered and aggravated existing and pre-existing mental health conditions which need urgent attention,” said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director, WHO South-East Asia Region.

Stigma related to COVID-19 infection may also lead to feeling of isolation and depression, she said, adding that another precipitating factor impacting mental health amidst COVID-19 could be domestic violence, which was reported to have increased during lockdowns imposed by almost all countries in the region.

“Early identification of mental health conditions, recognition of suicidal behaviours and appropriate management through a multi-sectoral approach is important, even as we continue to focus on arresting further spread of the pandemic”, Dr. Khetrapal Singh pointed out.

 

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