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Coronavirus : ICMR issues advisory allowing on demand testing for COVID19

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued an advisory for allowing on demand testing for all individuals who wish to get themselves tested and those undertaking travel to countries or Indian states mandating a negative Covid-19 test at point of entry.

The advisory for testing strategy recommended by the national task force on Covid-19 said that the state governments can decide ‘simplified modalities’ for on demand testing.

The guidelines also said that in a hospital setting, no emergency procedure including deliveries, should be delayed for lack of testing. ICMR has said that pregnant women should not be referred for a lack of testing facility and all arrangements should be made to collect and transfer samples to testing facilities.

All asymptomatic patients undergoing surgical or non-surgical invasive procedures can be tested but not more than once a week during their hospital stay, according to the guidelines.

Patients presenting with atypical manifestations like stroke, encephalitis, hemoptysis, pulmonary embolism among others can also be tested based on the discretion of the treating physician.

The rapid antigen test is to be used as the first choice in case of routine surveillance in containment zones and screening at points of entry. The RT-PCR test would be administered only if the person shows symptoms related to respiratory illness and influenza like symptoms among others in spite of a negative antigen test report.

“Ideally, it is suggested that 100 per cent people living in containment zones should be tested by RAT (Rapid Antigen Test) particularly in cities where there has been widespread transmission of infection,” ICMR said.


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