In a fresh set of instructions, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that testing of only one swab sample is enough, as against the earlier two, in suspected novel coronavirus cases, a senior Maharashtra health official said on Sunday, 2 February.
The new WHO instructions will ensure faster testing of samples which will quicken the fight against the 2019-nCoV outbreak, the official said.
"We have received a new set of instructions from the WHO recommending that one swab sample is sufficient for testing of novel coronavirus infection. Earlier, we were sending two samples of each patient to NIV (National Institute of Virology in Pune) for testing," Maharashtra state disease surveillance officer Dr Pradeep Awate told PTI.
"This will ensure faster testing of samples, which will quicken the fight against coronavirus. We are tracking passengers arriving from China for a period of 28 days from the date of their arrival," he added.
So far, no confirmed case of coronavirus infection has been found in the state. All 15 persons quarantined across the hospitals in Maharashtra for possible exposure have tested negative, officials have said.
The novel coronavirus started in Hubei province of China and has since spread to several countries, including two positive cases in India, both in the southern state of Kerala.
Chinese health authorities have said that the number of confirmed deaths from the coronavirus outbreak rose to 304 there, with hardest-hit Hubei province on Sunday reporting 45 new fatalities.