The central government has revised the country’s coronavirus-testing rules to reduce pressure on diagnostic labs amid a spurt of coronavirus cases triggered by the more dangerous second wave. “Healthy” domestic travellers and Covid patients being discharged from hospitals must not be tested, it said.
The centre said the 2,506 labs in the country had been working under tremendous pressure because of the rapidly growing caseloads.
“The need for RT-PCR test in healthy individuals undertaking inter-state domestic travel may be completely removed to reduce the load on laboratories,” the centre said in a circular to states.
“No testing is required for COVID-19-recovered individuals at the time of hospital discharge,” it added.
The centre said people who have tested positive once – either by rapid tests or the gold standard RT-PCR tests – must not be tested again.
Non-essential travel of people with Covid symptoms should be avoided to reduce the risk of infection and testing, the government added.
All asymptomatic individuals undertaking essential travel must follow Covid-appropriate behaviour.
India has been reporting over three lakh daily coronavirus cases for over a week. On Tuesday, the country’s single-day tally was 3.35 lakh cases and 3,449 deaths in 24 hours.
Several badly affected states have reported shortages of medical oxygen, life-saving drugs and hospital beds.
Horrific stories of people dying outside hospitals in the absence of medical care and oxygen support have shocked the world. Many countries have rushed in medical supplies to augment India’s efforts in controlling the surge.
Reports of RT-PCR test results being delayed by several days have emerged from many Covid-hit states.
More and more people are now opting for expensive CT scans that can detect signs of the infection in lungs.
AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria on Tuesday warned against “misuse” of CT scans.
Experts say early diagnosis and treatment is critical to patients’ chances of survival.