India allows COVID ‘Testing on Demand’: Health Ministry issues Updated Advisory

On the recommendations of the National Task Force on COVID-19, the Health Ministry on Saturday issued the updated Testing Advisory.

The new Advisory has simplified the testing process and provides more freedom and flexibilities to the State authorities to facilitate enhanced ease of testing for the people.

The updated Guidelines provide for ‘On-demand’ testing which for all practical purposes does away with prescription by a registered medical practitioner although State governments have the freedom to decide on simplified modalities.

The guidelines recommend ‘testing on-demand’ for “all individuals who wish to get themselves tested and for all individuals undertaking travel to other countries or Indian states mandating a negative COVID-19 test at the point of entry”. The states, however, can use their discretion to modify the approach.

In the new advisory, the ICMR has also listed measures for the frequency of testing. “A single RT-PCR/TrueNat/CBNAAT/RAT positive test is to be considered confirmatory, without any repeat testing. No re-testing is recommended prior to discharge from a COVID-19 facility after clinical recovery including for transfer from a COVID area/ facility to a non-COVID area/ facility. If symptoms develop following a negative RAT test, a repeat RAT or RT-PCR should be done.”

There has been an upsurge in India’s daily testing capacities. A total of 4 crore and 77 lakh tests have been done so far across the country. There are now 1647 testing laboratories operational which cover all States/UTs.