A medic sorts samples for Covid-19 rapid antigen testing in New Delhi in July 2020 | Kamal Kishore Nath | PTI
A medic sorts samples for Covid-19 rapid antigen testing in New Delhi (representational image) | Kamal Kishore Nath | PTI File photo
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Lucknow: Looking to fight the Covid-19 battle better, India has ramped up its testing significantly, with figures now touching over 10 lakh a day. On Sunday, Uttar Pradesh, which is among the five worst Covid-hit states, reported the largest share in national testing at 1,30,445 tests.

According to UP government data, this is nearly a nine-fold increase from testing levels two months ago. On 23 June, the state conducted 14,676 tests. This rose to 57,068 tests on 23 July.

UP has recorded the largest share in national testing on several days this month.

So far, the state has conducted 45.51 lakh Covid tests, recording 1.87 lakh cases and 2,926 deaths. The positivity rate in the state stands at 4.09 per cent, and the number of active cases is 49,242.

With the Covid crisis in the state worsening amid rising cases — only Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are facing a more severe outbreak than in UP — the state is planning to further raise testing to 1.5 lakh a day.

During the daily briefing Sunday, UP Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Awasthi said the administration has been directed to carry out around 1.5 lakh tests per on daily basis — 1 lakh antigen based tests and 50,000 RT-PCR tests — and it is making preparations for this.

He added that 17 RT-PCR labs will be set up in addition to the existing 42 such labs.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has issued instructions to all district magistrates to conduct two meetings every day with their teams to further improve the rate of testing and arrange better treatment facilities for all Covid patients, said Awasthi.

They will also have daily meetings with chief medical officers, he said.

Also read: 80% Covid patients in India are asymptomatic, health ministry analysis finds

What the minister says

Speaking about the testing regime, UP Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh said, “The number of rapid antigen tests has gone up significantly. Right now, around 60-65 per cent of the total number of tests is being conducted through antigen tests. Antigen tests are being conducted in the containment zone and for contact tracing.”

He added, “Apart from this, more tests are also being carried out by setting up camps. Now, our first target is to reach 1.5 lakh tests per day and then to keep increasing this number. Confirmation of corona positive cases is possible only through testing.”

Singh said the rising Covid cases are indeed a matter of grave concern but the recovery rate has also gone up. The Covid recovery rate in the state is currently at 72.21 per cent.

An official in the Uttar Pradesh health department said the strategy of conducting antigen tests by creating containment zones is proving immensely effective.

A second official said the total number of containment zones in the state has now increased to 14,453. Around 78 lakh people are living inside these zones.

Apart from this, 62,744 Covid help desks have also been set up in the state.

Also read: Severity of respiratory illness predicts early death of Covid patient, not comorbidity — study


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