As per ICMR's bulletins, around 94,325 samples were tested in the 24 hours between May 15 and May 16.

Medics conduct thermal screening of passengers before boarding a train at Prayagraj Junction Image for representation/PTI
Coronavirus Coronavirus Saturday, May 16, 2020 - 10:04

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 21,34,277 samples had been tested as of 9 am of May 16. As per ICMR's bulletins, around 94,325 samples were tested in 24 hours, from 9 am on May 15 to 9 am on May 16.

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

— Andhra Pradesh has tested 2,19,490 samples out of which 2,17,183 were negative. As on May 15, the state has a total of 2,307 cases, with 1,252 recoveries and 48 deaths. 

— Kerala has tested 48,825 samples so far and of these, 40,639 have returned negative. The state currently has 577 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 493 recoveries and 4 deaths.

— Tamil Nadu has tested 3,03,104 samples so far, with 10,108 people testing positive. 2,92,045 samples tested negative and results of 951 samples are awaited. 2,599 people have recovered and 71 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 1,454 people have tested positive so far, with 959 recoveries. The state has recorded 34 deaths so far.

— Karnataka has tested 1,33,724 samples, with 1,056 people testing positive and 1,32,074 samples returning negative. The state has recorded 36 COVID-19 deaths, while 480 persons have recovered. 

— Maharashtra has tested 2,50,436 laboratory samples, out of which 2,21,336 were negative and 29,100 have tested positive. 1,068 people have died from the disease in the state, while 6,564 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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