The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Friday revised its advisory on the COVID-19 testing strategy, permitting ‘testing on demand’ for individuals. However, the council left it to the states to modify the approach as per their discretion. The advisory recommends a 100 per cent testing for people living in containment zones. The new advisory comes at a time when the COVID-19 cases in the country crossed the 40 lakh mark.

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As per its latest advisory, individuals travelling to other countries or states must carry a negative COVID-19 test result at the point of entry. The ‘Advisory on Strategy for COVID-19 Testing in India’ (version VI), issued on Friday, said the state governments can simplify the modalities to facilitate testing on demand.

It suggested that 100 percent of people living in containment zones should be tested by rapid antigen tests, particularly in cities where there has been a widespread transmission of the infection. The ICMR also stressed 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.

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

After ramping up the testing infrastructure, India has crossed the 1-million tests per day mark. As of September 4, India has more than 1,600 testing labs across states.