Testing kits from China to arrive on April 15: ICMR
The order of rapid testing kits India placed will be delivered from China by April 15, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said on Monday. Earlier, the arrival of the testing kits was deferred due to overwhelming global demand amid the coronavirus outbreak. The ICMR, however, assured that India currently has enough kits to continue testing for six weeks. Here are more details.
Speaking at the Health Ministry's daily press briefing on Monday, the head of Epidemiology and Communicable diseases at ICMR, Dr. Raman R Gangakhedkar, said that the consignment of testing kits from China will arrive on April 15. Dr. Gangakhedkar also said that India had enough testing kits to continue testing for six months. He said 2,06,212 tests have been conducted thus far.
When asked if the kits meant for India had been diverted to the United States, as alleged by Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary K Shanmugam, Dr. Gangakhedkar said the ICMR has no knowledge of this.
Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary said a total of 857 people have recovered in India, with 141 recoveries in a single day. He said 756 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Sunday, including 35 deaths. As of Monday evening, India's Health Ministry confirmed 9,352 COVID-19 cases, including 324 deaths. These include 8,048 active cases of COVID-19.
When asked if the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPEs) led to doctors contracting the virus, Dr. Gangakhedkar said it is difficult to identify exposure. He said there is no proof to connect the infection of healthcare professionals to the lack of PPEs. Agarwal said only a small percentage of healthcare professionals were infected while treating people, while others had travel or contact history.
The ICMR also clarified on the efficacy of the antiviral drug remdesivir against COVID-19. Dr. Gangakhedkar said the drug was effective against the Ebola outbreak and hence led people to speculate that it could be effective against COVID-19. He said remdesivir is part of the World Health Organization's solidarity trial, in which India will participate. He said this will help study the drug more.
Agarwal said the government has signed purchase orders with 39 domestic manufacturers for PPEs. Agarwal also said the government is refraining from releasing a list of COVID-19 hospitals to avoid people flooding them in panic. He said people who suspect an infection can approach dedicated call centers where they will get proper guidance. The 'Bengaluru War Room' against COVID-19 was highlighted at the briefing.