The Centre has asked states to decide on simplified modalities such as doing away with need for prescription and setting out the method of testing.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) issued an advisory on Friday asking states to allow individuals who wish to get themselves tested and also make it available for people undertaking domestic or international travel.
The advisory is part of a revised Covid-19 testing strategy issued by the ICMR based on recommendation by the National Task Force on Covid-19.
The advisory says tests on demand should be allowed for “all individuals who wish to get themselves tested” and “all individuals undertaking travel to countries/Indian states mandating a negative Covid-19 test at point of entry”.
TOI had reported on August 19 that the government is considering to revisit its Covid-19 testing strategy to advise states to make it available on-demand as India has now ramped up testing capacities and is also locally manufacturing testing kits and reagents.
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With this steep exponential rise in daily testing, India has now conducted a total of around 4.7 crore tests. It conducted over 11.7 lakh tests for two consecutive days on Wednesday and Thursday.
India’s substantial increase in the testing levels is anchored in the daily expanding diagnostic lab network across the country. As on date, with 1025 labs in the government sector and 606 private labs, the country-wide network is strengthened with 1631 total lab facilities.
“Tracking and contact tracing mechanisms should be ensured by the testing laboratories by notifying the public health authorities,” says the advisory.
So far, ICMR advised states to test all symptomatic individuals. Besides, all SARI cases, asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of positive cases, all hospitalized influenza (ILI) patients and all symptomatic ILI among returnees and migrants are to be tested through RT-PCR.
Apart from this, antigen tests are conducted in containment zones and healthcare settings which include asymptomatic high-risk contacts and hospitalised patients apart from symptomatic cases.