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ICMR releases revised testing strategy for coronavirus, all asymptomatic contacts of confirmed positive cases will be tested

The revised guidelines also added that such individuals who have come from abroad should be tested for covid-19 only if they develop symptoms for the novel coronavirus

In the wake of the novel coronavirus that has swept the country, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has released a revised strategy to battle the spread of the contagion that has paralysed many countries across the world. As per new guidelines announced by the ICMR today, all the asymptomatic individuals who have undertaken international travel in the last 14 days are mandated to stay home quarantine for 14 days.

The new ICMR guidelines say that all asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of confirmed cases should get themselves tested once between day 5 and day 14 of coming in his/her contact. The revised guidelines also added that such individuals who have come from abroad should be tested for covid-19 only if they develop symptoms for the novel coronavirus. The new strategy includes testing of all symptomatic contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases as well as of symptomatic health-care workers. All hospitalised patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Illnesses, including cough and fever and/or shortness of breath, will be tested for the contagion.

The apex body of medical research altered their strategy as the coronavirus cases in India swell to 271. With the new guidelines, the ICMR aims to shore up the measures to contain the spread more effectively and provide a diagnosis to the patients meeting the criterion for the novel coronavirus.

Until now, all the asymptomatic patients who undertook international travel in the last 14 days and developed symptoms, all symptomatic contacts of laboratory-confirmed and all symptomatic health care workers were being tested for the infection as per the guidelines.

The cases of covid-19 reported in India thus far are all but related to travel and local transmission from imported cases. Instances of community transmission are still not being registered in India. Once community transmission is documented, ICMR will bring about changes in its testing strategy to meet the appropriate testing for community transmission stage. The testing strategy is evaluated by the National Task Force established by Secretary DHR & DG, ICMR and Chaired by VK Paul, a member of NITI Aayog.

At present, there are 75 laboratories across the country equipped to test for Covid-19, as per the list published by ICMR. 18 private companies, both domestic and international, have been issued licenses to do testing for the virus.

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