New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Union Health Ministry on Saturday expanded the eligibility criteria for Covid-19 testing added new symptoms to the list of coronavirus symptoms for the COVID-19 patients in the country.

The Clinical Management Protocol: COVID-19 document published by the health ministry updated the new symptoms and now states that "Loss of smell (anosmia) or loss of taste (ageusia) preceding the onset of respiratory symptoms" has been added to a list of seven other symptoms of coronavirus. 

Earlier the criteria for testing a person for the dreadful virus included seven other symptoms, that are fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, expectoration, myalgia, rhinorrhea, sore throat and diarrhoea.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in its ‘Clinical Management Protocol: COVID-19’ document states that direct person-to-person transmission of the virus happens through close contact, when one person’s respiratory droplets that are released when the infected person coughs, sneezes or talks reach the other person.  

 

"These droplets may also land on surfaces, where the virus remains viable. Infection can also occur if a person touches an infected surface and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth," the document states.

The document also warned people who are over 60 years of age or those underlying with non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiac disease, are the one who are the most vulnerable to the dreadful infection.

 

The government also said it is pursing some "investigational therapies"as no vaccine has been developed to fight COVID-19 so far. 

"Use of these drugs is subjected to limited availability in the country as of now. Currently, these drugs should only be used in a defined subgroup of patients," the document states, adding "the medicines are remdesivir, which can be taken under emergency; convalescent plasma therapy, tocilizumab and hydroxychloroquine".

Earlier this week, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)-constituted national task force on Covid-related matters brought up the debate to add the loss of amell and taste to the eligibility criteria of testing coronavirus patients. The task force cited that several cases have been reported where the patients showed a loss of smell or taste.

In April, the World Health Organization (WHO), along with many European Union (EU) countries, the USA, and Australia, added loss of smell and taste as one of the key Covid-19 symptoms.

The first set of criteria for testing COVID-19 patients was set in January and listed fever, cough and breathlessness as symptoms of coronavirus. Two months later, gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhoea and vomiting were also added to the list.  

Posted By: Talib Khan