New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Union Health Ministry on Thursday said that the COVID-19 positivity rate stands at 13.31 per cent, the lowest in a month, as cases have been declining in the country since the last two weeks. However, it warned against any kind of "laxity" and asked states and union territories (UTs) to ensure that all necessary COVID-19 norms are followed.

In a press briefing, the Health Ministry said that 303 districts reported a decline in case of positivity from May 13 to May 19. It said that seven states have more than 25 per cent case positivity, while 22 states have more than 15 per cent case positivity.

"Eight states in the country have more than one lakh active cases, nine states have between 50,000 to one lakh active cases and 19 states have less than 50,000 active cases," Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

"India has witnessed a consistent upward trend in weekly tests since mid-February with average daily tests increased by 2.3 times in last 12 weeks. After a consistent increase in case positivity for 10 weeks, a decline in case positivity since last two weeks reported. 13.31 per cent is the lowest positivity rate recorded in a month," he added.

Agarwal warned against any kind of "laxity" and said that all necessary protocols must be followed. He said that a study has found that 50 per cent of people still do not wear a mask and those who do about 64 per cent cover just their mouth but not their nose.

Meanwhile, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Director-General Dr Balram Bhargava stressed increasing testing and isolation, adding that it is the only way to control the pandemic. He said that the average daily testing capacity in India for COVID will be augmented to 45 lakh by June end.

He also spoke about the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) anti-COVID drug 2-DG and said that it is a repurposed medicine that was earlier used for cancer treatment.

"For home testing for COVID-19, one company has already made the application, and three are in the pipeline. Within a next week, we should have another three companies," Dr Bhargava was quoted as saying by ANI.

"Step 1 is that you buy the test kit from a chemist; Step 2- download mobile app; Step 3- conduct the test at home; step 4- click mobile image and upload, test result will be given. Within 3-4 days this should be available in the market," he added.

India currently has been hit by the second wave of the pandemic that has led to an unprecedented spike in daily cases. On Thursday, it reported 2.76 lakh fresh infections 3,874 deaths that pushed its cumulative caseload and toll to 2.23 crore and 2.87 lakh respectively.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma