New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Friday issued a new advisory regarding the COVID-19 testing strategy and allowed testing on demand for individuals. However, the medical body left it to states to modify the approach as per the COVID situation in the respective state.

The ICMR also advised testing on demand for all individuals undertaking travel to countries or Indian states mandating a negative COVID-19 test at the point of entry.

“100 per cent of people living in containment zones should be tested by rapid antigen tests (RAT), particularly in cities where there has been the widespread transmission of the infection”, the advisory said.

The advisory came on the day when India's coronavirus caseload hurtled past the 40 lakh-mark merely 13 days after it crossed 30 lakh. The country had crossed the 20 lakh-mark on August 7 and the 30 lakh-mark on August 23.

The ICMR has said that no emergency procedure (including deliveries) should be delayed for lack of tests, and pregnant women should not be referred for a lack of testing facility. Further, the existing recommendations related to testing for COVID-19 have been extended, elaborated and divided into four parts:

- routine surveillance in containment zones and screening at points of entry,

- routine surveillance in non-containment areas,

- hospital settings and testing on demand

- choice of test (RT-PCR, TrueNat or CBNAAT and rapid antigen tests) in order of priority has been listed.

Under the category of ‘routine surveillance in containment zones and screening at points of entry’, the advisory said, “All asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts (in family and workplace, people aged 65 and above, those who are immunocompromised or have co-morbidities etc) of a laboratory-confirmed case are to be tested once between day 5 and day 10 of coming into contact”, it said.

Under the category of ‘routine surveillance in non-containment areas’, the advisory recommended testing:

- all asymptomatic high-risk contacts (contacts in family and workplace,

- people aged 65 and above,

- those with co-morbidities etc), with RAT being the first choice of test in order of priority.

Under the category ‘hospital settings’, the advisory recommended testing:

- all patients of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI),

- all symptomatic (ILI symptoms) patients presenting in a healthcare setting,

- asymptomatic high-risk patients who are hospitalised or seeking immediate hospitalisation such as immunocompromised individuals,

- patients diagnosed with malignant diseases,

- transplant patients, patients with chronic co-morbidities and people aged 65 and above.

Mothers who test positive for COVID-19 should be advised to wear a mask and undertake frequent handwashing while handling their baby for 14 days. They should also be advised on breast cleaning before feeding the neonate. These measures are likely to reduce transmission of COVID-19 to their babies, the document said.

Posted By: Talib Khan