As of Tuesday, 17 March, India is facing 126 total confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 3 deaths and 13 recoveries.
In a press briefing today, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) said that they were planning to increase capacities and encouraging private laboratories to set up facilities to test for the novel coronavirus.
Dr Bhargava added that this is not a promise, although they are urging private labs to provide the test at an affordable rate. He added that a few did say they would provide free testing but nothing is confirmed as of now.
ICMR added that they have scaled up their operations and now have 72 ICMR testing labs and another 49 government labs that make a total of 121 testing facilities in India.
“Currently, 90 samples per lab per day are being testing,” says ICMR’s Dr Nivedita Gupta. She adds that this capacity “can be doubled to 180 per day per lab if the demand occurs.”
What about community transmission? The ICMR says that we do not have the evidence to suggest that asymptotic people are spreading the virus.
“AT ICMR we have prioritised one effort to see if we are going to stage 3, we are continuing surveillance. We are trying to curb international travel, delicately balancing between panic and the correct management,” says Dr Bhargava.
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