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ICMR asks States to stop using rapid tests for the next 2 days

Rajasthan government on Tuesday said the kits were giving inaccurate results

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday directed the States not to use the COVID-19 rapid testing kits for the next two days following reports of wide variations in results.

The kits would be tested and validated by ICMR teams and an advisory issued in the next two days. If they were found to be not up to the mark, replacements would be sought from the manufacturers, ICMR spokesperson Dr. R.R. Gangakhedkar said.

The Rajasthan government on Tuesday decided to halt rapid antibody tests after an experts’ team questioned the use of the newly distributed Chinese kits following inaccurate results.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said at a videoconference with journalists in Jaipur that since his request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi a fortnight ago to carry out centralised purchasing of medical equipment was not heeded, the kits of inferior quality had been supplied to the States. “This has seriously hampered our efforts to get fast test results for starting the treatment and contain the spread of the virus.”

Rajasthan Health Minister Raghu Sharma said, “We did rapid tests on 168 confirmed cases but only 5.4% tested positive for antibodies. The majority of the confirmed cases tested negative.”

The ICMR said of the total COVID-19 tests conducted so far, 69% were asymptomatic cases and 31% symptomatic.

India on Tuesday registered over 1,336 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking the total number to 18,985. The total number of deaths stood at 603, while 3,259 people have recovered so far. The country has registered a recovery rate of 17.48%, the Health Ministry said.

Reports from the States put the death toll at 647, with 15,497 active cases out of a total of 20,060 cases.

Dr. Gangakhedkar said 80% of cases came with no symptoms or very mild symptoms, 15% with moderate symptoms and 5% needed ICU aid.

“Four districts — Mahe [Puducherry], Kodagu [Karnataka], Pauri Garhwal [Uttrakhand] and Pratapgarh [Rajasthan], have not reported any fresh cases in the last 28 days. There are now 61 additional districts from 23 States/UTs that have not reported any fresh cases in the last 14 days,” said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Health Ministry.

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