New coronavirus testing target: 2.5 lakh by April 14
Unless India starts testing enough, no one can really decipher the damage coronavirus has caused. For a nation of over one billion, only 1,44,910 samples were tested until 9 pm on Thursday, April 9. And now, the Centre has set a new target. It has asked states to get proactive and to meet the 2.5 lakh target by April 14, when the lockdown ends.
Lockdown won't end soon, thanks to rising death toll
Speaking of lockdown, there are high chances it will be extended beyond the stipulated 21-day period. This week, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told politicians of all parties that lifting the restrictions seems impossible. Meanwhile, Odisha has already gone ahead and extended it till April 30. Across India, over 6,000 have been infected and 228 died of COVID-19.
Haryana's official said instructions have been given to states
Separately, Haryana Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Rajeev Arora told Indian Express that Union Health Ministry has asked all the states to test more. "Detailed directions have been issued to doctors and medical staff that another round of testing shall be launched across the state from Friday," Arora said. Till now, Haryana has tested 2,964 samples, of which 2,017 were negative.
So, whom does Haryana plan to test?
Further, Arora said the state will be testing anyone who shows influenza-like symptoms or has an acute respiratory disorder. "Since our number today (Thursday) is around 3,000 samples, we shall be taking it up to around 7,000-7,500 in the next five-six days," he said, adding that 450 samples will be tested in hotspots including the districts of Gurugram, Nuh, Palwal, and Faridabad.
Testing has been amplified
"In March, our sampling was approximately 750-800. But, in the last seven days, we have reached approximately 3,000 samples. We are now doing almost 400 samples/day. Considering the Tablighi Jamaat gathering in Delhi, we have done intensive sampling of the entire group," Arora added.
Those with no travel history tested positive for COVID-19
On a related note, after the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) changed its testing strategy, a big shift was seen in data. ICMR started testing patients with severe respiratory diseases and it showed that even those who had no travel history, tested positive for coronavirus. Of 5,911 patients tested, 104 had contracted the coronavirus infection. Of them, 40 had no international travel history.
Most SARI patients tested positive in Maharashtra
More than 1% of Severe Acute Respiratory Illnesses (SARI) patients tested positive for COVID-19 in fifteen states. In Gujarat, 792 patients were tested, and 13 were found to be positive. Out of 577 SARI patients tested in Tamil Nadu, five tested positive. 21 SARI patients out of 553 tested in Maharashtra got the infection. In Kerala, out of 502 SARI patients, 1 tested positive.