The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Monday revised its strategy for COVID-19 testing in India. In a release, the government body stated that all those with a history of international travel in the past 14 days who show symptoms of Influenza-like Illness (ILI) will be tested. An ILI case is defined as one who has acute respiratory infection with fever more than 38ºC coupled with cough.
The new strategy states that all asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of a confirmed case should be tested once between day 5 and day 10 of coming into contact. Earlier, the asymptomatic contacts were being tested one between day 5 and day 14 of coming in contact with a COVID-19 patient.
The new strategy also states that all symptomatic contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases and all symptomatic health care workers or frontline workers involved in containment and mitigation of COVID-19 will also be tested.
All patients of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) will also undergo tests. A SARI case is defined as one with acute respiratory infection with fever more than 38ºC, coupled with cough and requiring hospitalisation.
Symptomatic people living within hotspots and containment zones and all hospitalised patients who develop symptoms will also be tested.
All returnees and migrants who show symptoms will be tested within seven days of developing an illness.
The ICMR guideline states that no emergency procedure (including deliveries) should be delayed for lack of test. However, samples can be sent for testing simultaneously as well.
The ICMR has recommended that all testing be done with real-time RT-PCR tests only.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, a total of 23,02,792 samples had been tested as of 9 am on May 18. On an average, in the past week, over 80,000 tests are being conducted every day.