While India has been criticised of limited testing range by many countries and several politicians, the testing data released by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MOHFW), on Thursday, shows India following global standards corresponding to the number of cases. The data released by MOHFW shows that India has tested 2,17,554 samples currently as its case tally crosses 10,000-mark. In comparison US, UK had tested just above 1,00,000 samples, while Canada had tested close to 3,00,000 samples. All the above-mentioned countries are currently in the 'Community transmission' phase, while India has been put under 'Cluster of cases' with 12,380 cases and 414 deaths.
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. This comes after ICMR has also allowed the use of rapid antibody testing - 6.5 test kits are scheduled to arrive on Friday.
Currently, testing for Coronavirus is done in 219 labs throughout the nation - 151 Govt & 68 Pvt. On March 21, the Centre notified the guidelines laid down by the ICMR for COVID-19 testing in private laboratories in the country. It has been stressed that private labs can charge only Rs.1,500 for the screening of suspect cases and Rs.3000 for the confirmation test. While ICMR has encouraged private labs to go for free or subsidized testing, government labs are testing for free. Moreover, the Supreme Court instructed Pvt labs to conduct free COVID-19 testing for patients covered by the AYUSHMAN Bharat scheme.