Health Ministry Flags Dip in COVID Testing, Asks States for 'Immediate Increase'

The ministry said that data available on the ICMR portal showed that testing has declined in many states and UTs.

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The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Tuesday, 18 January, asked all states and Union Territories "to immediately increase testing in a strategic manner" in view of the increasing cases in several parts of the country.

In the letter, the Centre stressed that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is currently spreading across the country and issued a reminder that testing is key to the management of the pandemic in India.

"However, it is seen from the data available on the ICMR portal that testing has declined in many states and union territories," the letter undersigned by the Additional Secretary of the Health Ministry said.

As per the latest advisory on testing by ICMR, the basic objective remains early detection of COVID cases for quick isolation and care.


Testing helps in identification of new clusters and new hotspots of infection which can in turn facilitate immediate action for containment such as setting up of containment zones, contact tracing, quarantining, isolation and follow-up, the letter said. It will also help state and district administrations to curb the spread of COVID and ensure reduction in mortality and morbidity.

The ministry reiterated that in community settings, all those who are symptomatic must be tested and all at-risk contacts of laboratory confirmed cases must also be tested.

The ministry also reminded the states and Union Territories of its previous guidelines, which noted that "strategic and focused testing should be done of people who are vulnerable, living in closed surroundings, in densely populated areas in emerging new clusters and new hotspots of positive cases, etc."

The letter from the ministry comes as India on Tuesday reported 2,38,018 new infections (20,071 cases less than the previous day), 310 deaths, and 1,57,421 recoveries. The number of active cases in the country stands at 17,36,628, while the daily positive rate is at 14.43 percent.

Meanwhile, a total of 8,891 cases of the Omicron variant have been reported so far.

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Topics:  Health Ministry   COVID-19   Omicron 

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