Hyderabad: The central government has revised the COVID testing rules to reduce pressure on diagnostic labs.
Any individual with fever, headache, sore throat, breathlessness, body ache, the recent loss of taste or smell, fatigue, diarrhea should be considered as a suspect case of Covid-19 unless proven otherwise by confirmation of another etiology, the new guidelines said.
Though the Centre repeatedly asked states and Union territories to increase RT-PCR testing by at least 70 percent, the Indian Council of Medical Research in its new testing guideline issued on Tuesday has talked about reducing RT-PCR tests to take the load off the existing laboratories. "Healthy" inter-state travelers and Covid patients being discharged from hospitals after recovery must not be tested, the guidelines said.
The centre said over 2,500 labs in the country are working under tremendous pressure because of the rapidly growing caseloads. "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 centre said in a circular to states.
"No testing is required for COVID-19-recovered individuals at the time of hospital discharge," it added. The centre said people who tested positive once - either by rapid tests or the gold standard RT-PCR - must not be tested again.
Non-essential travel of people with Covid symptoms should be avoided to reduce the risk of infection, the government added. All asymptomatic individuals undertaking essential travel must follow Covid-appropriate behavior. Several badly affected states have reported shortages of medical oxygen, life-saving drugs, and hospital beds.
Horrific stories of people dying outside hospitals in the absence of medical care and oxygen support have shocked the world. Many countries have rushed medical supplies to augment India's efforts in controlling the surge.
Meanwhile, reports of RT-PCR test results getting delayed by several days have emerged from many Covid-hit states. More and more people are now opting for expensive CT-scans that can detect signs of the infection in the lungs.