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Over 3 lakh COVID-19 tests done in last 24 hours: ICMR

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NEW DELHI: Ramping up its testing capacity with each passing day, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) conducted over three lakh tests to diagnose COVID-19 in the last 24 hours for the first time.

According to an official, 1,24,12,664 samples have been tested for coronavirus till July 14, of these 3,20,161 samples were tested on Tuesday.

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In a bid to increase the testing, the ICMR has approved a total of 1,223 COVID-19 testing labs in both public (865) and private sector (358) across the country. This includes RT-PCR labs (633); TrueNat Labs (491) and CBNAAT Labs (99).

“ICMR advises all concerned state governments, public and private institutions to take required steps to scale-up testing for COVID-19. Since testing, tracking and treatment is the only way to prevent the spread of infection and save lives, it is imperative that testing should be made widely available to all symptomatic individuals in every part of the country and contact tracing mechanisms for containment of infection are further strengthened,” said latest advisory of ICMR on COVID-19 strategies.

Our testing capacity has been increased to three lakh per day through government and private laboratories, said the official.

Besides, ICMR has recommended all laboratories and hospitals, initiating testing through the rapid antigen test, to ensure that all symptomatic negative patients should essentially be referred to a real-time RT-PCR test for coronavirus.

Recently, ICMR wrote to all states and UTs saying all private laboratories in their areas who intend to initiate TrueNat/CBNAAT based testing for COVID-19 be encouraged to apply for NABL accreditation to ensure quality testing.

So far, five states — Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka — have ramped up their testing speed.

The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 24,309 and the total number of cases climbed to 9,36,181 in India after it registered 582 fatalities and a record single-day spike of 29,429 cases till Wednesday 8 AM, according to the Union Health Ministry’s data.