In a massive development, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), on Monday, has revised its testing strategy for Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. As per the new guidelines, asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of COVID-19 positive patients must be tested between 5-10 days of coming into contact. India's Coronavirus cases have now surged to 96169, with 36,824 recovered and 3029 fatalities.
Amid the heavy movement of migrant labourers across the country via Shramik trains, buses and on-foot in some cases, ICMR has mandated symptomatic returnees to be tested within seven days. This was mentioned by the MHA while releasing guidelines on the returning migrants' quarantine. As the Centre reduced health briefings to four days a week, ICMR scientists have been absent from the press briefings - no reason has been given as such.
On April 9, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) revised its testing strategy. The new strategy which has been released by the ICMR also includes testing in 'hotspots/cluster' for all symptomatic cases - within 7 days (rRT- PCR method) and after 7 days (antibody test). The ICMR previously only allowed testing of all people with symptoms with travel history, contact history, SARI patients and asymptomatic people with high-risk contacts.
Meanwhile, ICMR has undertaken plasma trials along with 23 other national hospitals on critical patients across the nation. It has also collaborated with state health departments to conduct population-based sero-survey in selected districts representing case detection across the country for surveillance. The ICMR will be using the indigenous ELISA-based anti-body test kits which were developed by ICMR - for the same.
On Sunday, the Centre announced the extension of India's nationwide Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown till May 31. PM Modi has announced a Rs 20 lakh crore economic package - including the previous monetary package and the liquidity measures announced by RBI till date (amounting to 10.26 lakh crore) to kickstart Indian economy's growth. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), has released its detailed guidelines for the extended lockdown, allowing the delineation of red, green and orange zones as per state and UT governments, taking the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) into consideration.