Amid rising COVID-19 cases in the country, the government, in a move to reduce load on diagnostic labs, issued new rules for testing coronavirus infection. An ICMR advisory for COVID-19 testing during second wave of coronavirus said the RT-PCR tests of healthy individuals, travelling inter-state, can be completely removed.
The ICMR also said that if an individual has tested positive, either by Rapid Antigen test (RAT) or RT-PCR, their testing must not be repeated. It added that testing is not required for COVID-19 recovered individuals, who are getting discharged from hospitals.
"The RT-PCR test must not be repeated in any individual who has tested positive once either by RAT or RT-PCR. 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 ICMR advisory said.
The new advisory comes as laboratories across India are facing challenges to meet the expected testing target due to increasing caseload and staff contracting COVID-19.
The Indian Council of Medical Research also recommended increasing the use of RATs and that it may be allowed at all available government and private healthcare facilities.
The advisory said, "Non-essential travel and interstate travel of symptomatic individuals (COVID-19 or flu- like symptoms) should be essentially avoided to reduce the risk of infection and that all asymptomatic individuals undertaking essential travel must follow COVID appropriate behaviour."
India is recording over 3 lakh COVID cases daily for over a week now and the country is also witnessing a steep rise in daily deaths from COVID-19. According to ICMR, India's overall test positivity rate is above 20%.