India performs 900k Covid tests for 2nd consecutive day.

People wait in a queue for the Covid-19 test, in Surat, Gujarat, on August 20.

India performed 900,000 tests for Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) for the second consecutive day on Thursday, taking the total number of tests in the country to 36,671,613 so far.

With 900,000 samples being tested in close to 1,500 labs spread across India, the country seems to be right on track to meet the target of performing one million Covid-19 tests in a day by August-end.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is in the process of making arrangements to further ramp up testing in the country.

“Recovery of 2,096,664 patients has been made possible because of effective implementation of the policy of testing aggressively, tracking comprehensively and treating efficiently. Focus on Standard of Care protocol including use of non-invasive oxygen, better skilled doctors in the intensive care units (ICUs) and hospitals, and improved ambulance services have culminated in yielding the desired results,” said the Union health ministry in a statement.

At 109,516, Uttar Pradesh performed the maximum number of tests on Thursday. A close second was Bihar with 107,945 tests, followed by Maharashtra that performed 76,591 tests.

Among states or Union Territories with low testing, Meghalaya had zero tests performed on Thursday, followed by Andaman and Nicobar Islands (366), and Sikkim with 387 tests in a day.

“Early identification through testing, surveillance and contact tracing along with focus on timely and appropriate clinical treatment of Covid-19 patients have ensured that not only is the Case Fatality Rate is lower than the global average and progressively declining (current figure is 1.89%), but also a small proportion of the active cases are on ventilator support,” the ministry statement further read.

ICMR director general Dr Balram Bhargava, in a recent Covid-19 briefing, had also said that the research body had adopted an intelligent and calibrated approach as far as Covid-19 testing in India was concerned to meet the testing requirement.

All states in India are currently are performing at least 140 tests per day, per million population as prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as minimum requirement for adequate Covid-19 testing. Most states are performing much higher numbers, with the national average being 580 tests per day per million population.

Experts also agree that it is important to keep the testing momentum high to know the exact disease burden.

“The more you test, the higher will be the number of infected that you will be able to identify. To curtail an infectious disease from spreading, one must be able to identify, through testing, as many infected individuals as possible in time so that they are isolated and put on treatment. It will also ensure they don’t roam around freely within the community and transmit the infection,” said Dr T Jacob John, former head of virology department, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu.


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