ICMR elaborates testing strategy for coronavirus COVID-19 across India, especially in hotspots

The ICMR has directed that in the hotspots, cluster areas, large migration gatherings and evacuees centres, all symptomatic ILI (fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose) will have to be tested within seven days of illness.

ICMR elaborates testing strategy for coronavirus COVID-19 across India, especially in hotspots

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday elaborated on the strategy for testing coronavirus COVID-19 across the country especially in hotspots and evacuees centres identified by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).

The ICMR has directed that in the hotspots, cluster areas, large migration gatherings and evacuees centres, all symptomatic ILI (fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose) will have to be tested within seven days of illness (rRT-PCR) and after 7 days of illness, an antibody test (if negative, confirmed by rRT-PCR) will be done.

For the rest of the country, the testing strategy is--all symptomatic individuals who have undertaken international travel in the last 14 days, all symptomatic contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases, all symptomatic health care workers, all patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (fever AND cough and/or shortness of breath) and asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of a confirmed case should be tested once between day five and day 14 of coming in his/her contact.

As of April 9 9.30 pm, 5,734 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 166 deaths have been reported in the country. 473 persons have been cured/discharged after recovery. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has deputed high level multi-disciplinary central teams to assist the states and state health department in activities pertaining to cluster containment plan and hospital preparedness (ICU & Ventilator management for COVID-19 patients). The teams have been deputed to Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Karnataka, M.P, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Telangana & Uttar Pradesh.

The Centre has reviewed the testing strategy and availability of testing kits across the country along with the strategy for hotspots and cluster management. It has also directed that hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) should be utilised as per prescription and is not advised for patients with cardiac irregularities or those suffering from the cardiac disease which can be harmful. GoM was also informed that sufficient stock of hydroxychloroquine is being maintained in the country.

Additionally, the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR labs) and Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB labs), Hyderabad and Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), New Delhi have started working together on the whole genome sequencing of Novel Coronavirus to understand the evolution of the virus.

Several districts are adopting various innovative measures for the management of COVID-19.