India crosses target of a million Covid-19 tests a day

India crossedthe one million daily testing milestone on Friday with a total of 10, 23,836 tests, according to the Union health ministry data.

“Early identification through testing, prompt and effective treatment through supervised home isolation and quality medical care, and innovative graded policy measures have resulted in almost 100% increase in recovered cases in the last 21 days,” the health ministry tweeted on Saturday.

In an interview with HT, Harsh Vardhan, the minister of health and family welfare, had underscored how the government was aggressively pursuing its targets.

“We have met our goal of doing one million Covid-19 tests a day at least six weeks ahead of target — just as we have done in the past for other goals. When we promised to take testing up to 100,000 a day by May 31, we achieved that target by May 10. A few weeks go, I had promised to reach the one million a day mark in 12 weeks. And now look at our progress,” he said in the interview.

Also read: Covid-19 vaccine agreements in the works with candidates, producers, says Harsh Vardhan

ICMR director general Balram Bhargava, in a recent briefing, had said the research body adopted an intelligent and calibrated approach to meet the testing requirement.

“If we look at overall testing numbers, then we are comfortably placed but there are certain states/regions that need extra attention. So we focused accordingly when building testing capacity. States where there were fewer labs were given priority to establish or upgrade existing infrastructure,” Bhargava had said.

All states in India are currently performing at least 140 tests per day per million population as prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the minimum requirement for adequate Covid-19 testing. Most states are performing much higher numbers, with the national average being 580 tests per day per million population.

Experts agree that it is important to keep the testing momentum high to know the exact disease burden.

“The more you test, the higher will be the number of infected that you will be able to identify. To curtail an infectious disease from spreading, one must be able to identify, through testing, as many infected individuals as possible in time so that they are isolated and put on treatment. It will also ensure they don’t roam around freely within the community and transmit the infection,” said T Jacob John, former head of the virology department, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu.

The testing lab network in the country is also being continuously strengthened and currently consists of 1,504 labs. Of them, 978 labs are in the government sector and 526 are private labs. Covid cases in India are set to cross three million on Saturday.

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