India’s daily Covid-19 test touches a record 1.2 million
India on Saturday conducted 1.2 million tests across the country to detect the coronavirus disease (Covid-19); it is the highest number of samples tested in a single day so far.
With that, the total number of samples tested for Covid-19 in the country in the past eight months has reached about 60.4 million.
The first test for Covid-19 in the country was performed on January 23 at the Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) apex virology laboratory at National Institute of Virology in Pune.
There has been a progressive rise in Covid-19 testing in the country. From about 10,000 till April 8, the number of tests reached 1 million by May 3; 5 million by June 10; 10 million by July 7; and is now about 60.4 million, according to Union health ministry data.
“Higher testing leads to early identification of positive cases, timely and effective treatment and low mortality,” said the health ministry.
On average, India has been administering one million tests every day for almost four weeks now, and that largely includes two tests—reverse transcript polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests and rapid antigen tests (RAT).
The rapid antigen test comprises between 30% and 40% of the total Covid-19 diagnostics tests currently, according to the government data.
“While the number of daily tests has increased as an integral part of chase the virus strategy, States have been advised that all symptomatic negatives of rapid antigen tests are mandatorily subjected to RT-PCR,” the health ministry further said.
ICMR, which has been spearheading the Covid-19 testing initiative in the country, has been constantly making efforts to scale up the testing infrastructure to be able to effectively execute government’s policy to test, track and treat as part of ‘chase the virus’ policy to cut the disease transmission cycle.
ICMR, in a statement, said, “Recently, an increasing number of cases has been reported from states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Naidu. ICMR is enhancing testing capacity in these states. ICMR has been regularly assessing the situation and responding by revising testing strategy. In its latest advisory on Covid-19 testing strategy, ‘testing on demand’ for individuals has been allowed. The State/UT governments have been allowed to simplify the modalities to facilitate testing on demand.”