ICMR defends India’s COVID-19 testing strategy People gather to shop at a market area during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Ahmedabad on April 16, 2020. (Photo by SAM PANTHAKY/AFP via Getty Images)
THE Indian Council of Medical Research(ICMR) has clarified that the testing ratio in India is not low.
It added that there has been no COVID-19 infections in 325 of the 736 districts.
India has 13,387 coronavirus positive cases in the country with 437 deaths.
Recently, congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that India was not conducting enough coronavirus tests.
India also received the much-awaited 500,000 rapid COVID-19 testing kits from China on Thursday (16), the government said.
“In countries like Japan, one out of 11.7 tests turns out to be positive, which is among the highest in the world. Italy tests 6.7 persons for one positive test while the US tests 5.3 persons and the United Kingdom 3.4,” said Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar, head of epidemiology and communicable diseases at the ICMR.
“In India, we are conducting 24 tests out of which one comes out to be positive. Also, we have huge population and not all people belong to vulnerable groups. Hence, can’t say our testing ratio is low”.
Rahul Gandhi said that aggressive testing is the main weapon to defeat the coronavirus and it should be used strategically.
Gangakhedkar said the testing kits from China will be used for surveillance and to monitor whether coronavirus hotspots in the country are increasing or decreasing.
Coronavirus cases crossed 1,000 in Madhya Pradesh(1,090) and Rajasthan(1,104) taking to five the states which have surpassed this mark.
Maharashtra topped the tally at 3,081 with Mumbai (2,043) being the worst hit followed by Delhi(1,578) and Tamil Nadu(1,267). The cases in Mumbai have doubled in six days.
The Centre has declared 170 hotspots–123 hotspot districts with large outbreaks and 47 hotspot districts with cluster– in 25 states and Union territories.
Besides, it has identified 207 non-hotspot districts with clusters in 27 states which can be potential hot spots if there is no containment strategies.