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With COVID-19 cases rising, India to now test all ‘high-risk’ contacts of patients

On Friday, India reported the highest increase in coronavirus cases in a day — a jump of 30 positive cases. Total cases have climbed to 271 now.

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New Delhi: With COVID-19 cases showing a spike, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India’s apex health research body, in a clear change in policy has revised its guidelines to include testing of samples of all asymptomatic direct and “high-risk” contacts of coronavirus-positive patients.

So far, only those showing symptoms of COVID-19 were tested.

According to the new guidelines, the contacts are to be tested once between day 5 and day 14 of coming in contact with coronavirus-positive patients.

As of Saturday morning, India reported 271 confirmed cases. On Friday, India reported the highest increase in coronavirus cases in a day — a jump of 30 positive cases.

The guidelines, issued Friday, stated that direct and high-risk contacts include those who live in the same household with a confirmed case and healthcare workers who have examined a confirmed case without adequate protection.

Now all patients who are admitted in hospitals with severe acute respiratory illnesses like pneumonia with fever, cough and breathlessness can be tested. 

The guidelines now include testing of all symptomatic health workers and not just those in contact with severe acute respiratory illnesses as the earlier guidelines released on 17 March had said.

The testing strategy was reviewed by the National Task Force set up by secretary,  Director of Health Research, and director general, ICMR, and was chaired by V.K. Paul, member, NITI Aayog.

Also read: At least 8 ministries for Congress rebels, Shivraj as leader — what BJP has planned for MP

No community transmission yet

Despite the changes in testing criteria, India continues to assert that COVID-19 cases in the country are related to travel and local transmission from imported cases. 

“Once community transmission is documented, the above testing strategy will undergo changes to evolve into stage appropriate testing strategy,” according to the guidelines.

The new guidelines reiterated that asymptomatic individuals, who have undertaken international travel and their family members, should quarantine themselves for 14 days.

Earlier Friday, the Health Ministry issued an advisory for hospitals with regard to dealing with COVID-19 patients.

Also read: Mohali woman with coronavirus ‘dragged’ to govt hospital, Chandigarh reports 4 new cases


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