Over 20 lakh samples tested so far: Data from south states, Maharashtra

As per ICMR's bulletins, around 92,911 samples were tested in the 24 hours between May 14 and May 15.
A medic with COVID19 samples
A medic with COVID19 samples
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India has ramped up testing since the lockdown was announced on March 24, which has now been extended to May 17. 

According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, a total of 20,39,952 samples had been tested as of 9 am of May 15. As per ICMR's bulletins, around 92,911 samples were tested in 24 hours, from 9 am on May 14 to 9 am on May 15.

Here are the state-wise numbers as of 9.30 am on May 15:

— Andhra Pradesh has tested 2,01,196 samples out of which 1,99,059 were negative. As on May 13, the state has a total of 2,205 cases, with 1,192 recoveries and 48 deaths. 

— Kerala has tested 40,692 samples so far and of these, 39,619 have returned negative. The state currently has 561 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 493 recoveries and 4 deaths.

— Tamil Nadu has tested 2,91,432  samples so far, with 9,227 people testing positive. 2,81,001 samples tested negative and results of 757 samples are awaited. 2,240 people have recovered and 66 people have died due to the disease.

—Telangana had been providing sample numbers till April 30. However, the updated numbers since then are not known. A total of 1,414 people have tested positive so far, with 952 recoveries. The state has recorded 34 deaths so far.

— Karnataka has tested 1,28,373 samples, with 987 people testing positive and 1,26,766 samples returning negative. The state has recorded 35 COVID-19 deaths, while 460 persons have recovered. 

— Maharashtra has tested 2,40,145 laboratory samples, out of which 2,12,621 were negative and 27,524 have tested positive. 1,019 people have died from the disease in the state, while 6,059 have recovered.  

Public health experts have called for wider testing to check for community transmission of COVID-19. The Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) testing strategy has been expanded and all symptomatic patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) - those with fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose - need to be tested in hotspots/clusters (identified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) and in large migration gatherings/ evacuees centres. Symptomatic ILI patients will have to be tested within seven days of presenting with the illness.

Earlier, the guidelines limited testing to those who have international travel history and are symptomatic; those who have contact history with a confirmed COVID-19 case and have symptoms of the virus; healthcare workers who are symptomatic; patients hospitalised with Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI); and a direct or high-risk contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case who can be symptomatic or asymptomatic.

Presently, only the RT-PCR or the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test can detect the presence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. However, ICMR has allowed places that are hotspots (high number of cases) to test residents using the rapid antibody kits, which can deliver results within 30-45 minutes as opposed to 24 hours that an RT-PCR test. However, a positive result by the rapid antibody test will have to be further tested by the RT-PCR test to confirm for the novel coronavirus. ICMR advises those with a negative result by the rapid antibody test to be home quarantined.  

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