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 22,27,642 samples had been tested as of 9 am on May 17. As per ICMR's bulletins, around 93,365 samples were tested in 24 hours, from 9 am on May 16 to 9 am on May 17.
Here are the state-wise numbers as of 11 am on May 17:
— Andhra Pradesh has tested 2,29,118 samples out of which 2,26,763 were negative. As on May 16, the state has a total of 2,205 cases, with 1,353 recoveries and 49 deaths.
— Kerala has tested 43,669 samples so far and of these, 41,814 have returned negative. The state currently has 588 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 497 recoveries and 4 deaths.
— Tamil Nadu has tested 3,13,639 samples so far, with 10,585 people testing positive. 3,02,523 samples tested negative and results of 531 samples are awaited. 3,538 people have recovered and 74 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 1,509 people have tested positive so far, with 971 recoveries. The state has recorded 34 deaths so far.
— Karnataka has tested 1,40,024 samples, with 1,092 people testing positive and 1,38,216 samples returning negative. The state has recorded 36 COVID-19 deaths, while 496 persons have recovered.
— Maharashtra has tested 2,61,783 samples, out of which 2,31,071 were negative and 30,706 have tested positive. 1,135 people have died from the disease in the state, while 7,088 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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