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 17,59,579 samples have been tested as of 9 am of May 12. No further data was provided. As per ICMR's bulletins, around 85,891 samples were tested in 24 hours, from 9 am on May 11 to 9 am on May 12.
Here are the state-wise numbers as of 10 am on May 12:
— Andhra Pradesh has tested 1,81,144 samples out of which 1,79,126 were negative. As on May 12, the state has a total of 2,018 cases, with 998 recoveries and 45 deaths.
— Kerala has tested 37,858 samples so far and of these, 37,098 have returned negative. The state currently has 520 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 489 recoveries and 4 deaths.
— Tamil Nadu has tested 2,54,899 samples so far, with 8,002 people testing positive. 2,45,562 samples were tested negative and results of 1,335 samples are awaited. 2,051 people have recovered and 53 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 1,275 people have tested positive so far, with 801 recoveries. The state has recorded 30 deaths so far.
— Karnataka has tested 1,11,595 samples, with 862 people testing positive and 1,06,467 samples returning negative. The state has recorded 31 COVID-19 deaths, while 426 persons have recovered.
— Maharashtra has tested 2,18,914 laboratory samples, out of which 1,93,457 were negative and 23,401 have tested positive. 868 people have died from the disease in the state, while 4,786 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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