The Indian Council of Medical Research on Tuesday informed that they have so far not received any evidence of community outbreak of coronavirus in India, as more than 500 of the thousand samples tested for community transmission of coronavirus have come out negative while other results are yet to arrive.
Prof (Dr) Balram Bhargava, Secretary, Department of Health Research and Director General, ICMR said, "It is reassuring that at the moment there is no evidence of community outbreak from this study."
Explaining the process, Dr. Nivedita Gupta, Scientist at ICMR on Tuesday said, "Till date, we have picked up 20 samples from 51 sites over 15 days, and between March 1 and 15, we have collected more than a thousand samples from the 51 sites from individuals who were admitted with severe acute respiratory distress or pneumonia-like symptoms, but they did not have any travel history or contact with any known patient of COVID-19."
"Our results are pouring in and as of now we have results of more than 500 patients and all are negative. If we find a positive case at any of the sites, then the cluster containment strategy, as per government of India guidelines and testing strategy according to that plan will be implemented," she added.
ICMR scientist Dr. Nivedita Gupta also informed that the samples will now be taken every week due to the increasing number of positive Coronavirus cases across the country.
The India Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is going to operationalise two rapid testing laboratories and 49 additional testing centers by the end of this week. A rapid testing laboratory will be equipped to test as many as 1,400 samples each day.
Informing about the laboratory expansion, the ICMR Director-General said, "Currently the laboratory expansion of ICMR is engaged, we are expanding our number of laboratories and as we speak, today we have 72 functional laboratories in ICMR system."
"We have also engaged non-ICMR, Ministry of Health, government laboratories include CSIR, DRDO, DBT, govt medical colleges, we have 49 of those labs which will start testing by the end of this week. We are also is also engaging with high-quality private laboratories, that include NABL accredited laboratories, to understand the modalities to increase access to the tests while ensuring appropriate safeguards," he added.
(With inputs from ANI)