The last 10 crore tests were done in only 55 days, the ICMR said in a statement.

Frontline workers collecting samples for an RTPCR testImage for representation: PTI
Health Coronavirus Thursday, August 19, 2021 - 12:23

The number of samples tested for COVID-19 in the country has crossed the 50 crore-mark and in this month, the average daily testing has been over 17 lakh, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Thursday. The last 10 crore tests were done in only 55 days, the ICMR said in a statement. "On July 21, 2021, India had tested 45 crore COVID-19 samples, which reached the 50-crore mark on August 18, 2021," the ICMR said. According to its website, 50,03,00,840 samples have been tested up to August 18.

"ICMR has been enhancing COVID-19 testing capability across the country by expanding and diversifying testing capacity by leveraging technology and facilitating innovation in affordable diagnostic kits. The testing strategy has been carefully calibrated to increase access and availability of testing," the ICMR said. It said that in this month, the average daily testing was more than 17 lakh. ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said, "We have seen that exponential increase in testing led to early identification, prompt isolation and effective treatment of COVID-19 cases."

"This testing milestone is testimony to the fact that India has been successful in implementing the strategy of '5T' approach 'Test, Track, Trace, Treat and use of Technology' efficiently, which will enable us to contain the spread of the pandemic," he said. Further, enhanced production of diagnostic kits has made India 'atma nirbhar' (self-reliant), which has resulted in reduction of cost and improved availability of testing kits, Bhargava said.

Meanwhile, India added 36,401 new COVID-19 infections, taking the total tally of cases to 3.23 crore, while the death toll has climbed to 4.33 lakh with 530 more fatalities, according to Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday. The national recovery rate has improved to 97.52%, the highest since March last year, according to the data updated at 8 am. The ministry said that active cases have declined to 3.64 lakh, the lowest in 149 days, and comprise 1.13% of the total infections, the lowest since March last year.

Cumulatively, 56.64 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered under the nationwide vaccination drive so far. "Our figures are being reconciled with the Indian Council of Medical Research," the ministry said on its website, adding that state-wise distribution of figures is subject to further verification and reconciliation.

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