By Rajnish Singh
New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) Goa, Delhi, Tripura and Tamil Nadu are among 22 states and Union Territories in India that have been conducting over 500 COVID-19 tests per day per million population, far ahead of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines.
The WHO advises 140 tests per day per million population.
As per Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) data, 22 states and UTs, including Delhi, are already conducting 140 and above tests per day per million population.
India’s per day per million coronavirus test rate is 201, the data said.
Among the 22 states and UTs, Goa is on top by performing 1,058 COVID-19 tests followed by Delhi (978)– which is among the worst-hit regions across India with 1,15,346 confirmed cases that include 3,446 deaths.
Tripura by performing 642 tests per day per million is on the third rank among those states that have been conducting over 500 tests daily. The northeastern state, which announced seven-day lockdown from July 17 in areas bordering Bangladesh after a recent spike in coronavirus cases, is followed by Tamil Nadu (563), Jammu & Kashmir (540), and Puducherry (511).
Besides these, other states and UTs that have been conducting more than 140 COVID-19 tests are Haryana (420), Ladakh (353), Assam (310), Karnataka (297), Andhra Pradesh (260), Madhya Pradesh (249), Chandigarh (245), Punjab (243), Uttarakhand (242), Rajasthan (235), Maharashtra (198), Kerala (182), Himachal Pradesh (181), Sikkim (165), Nagaland (151) and Mizoram (149).
The WHO in its guidance note on “Public Health Criteria to Adjust Public Health and Social Measures in the Context of COVID-19” has advised comprehensive surveillance for suspected cases.
While explaining the concept of comprehensive surveillance and testing of suspect cases, the WHO advises that a country needs 140 tests per day per million population.
“With the various coordinated efforts made by the Centre and the states and UTs, 22 states and UTs in India are already conducting 140 and more tests per day per million. States and UTs are being regularly advised to increase the testing capacity to match the WHO advised levels of testing,” the ministry said.
One of the factors strongly aiding the increasing numbers of COVID-19 tests in the country is the steadily growing network of labs for testing of COVID-19, the ministry said.
With 865 labs in the government sector and 358 private labs, the total number of testing labs as per the ministry is 1,223 as on date. In addition to the gold standard for tests, RT PCR, TrueNat and CBNAAT are also used to augment this facility, it said.
Among 633 Real-Time RT PCR-based testing labs, 391 are run by the government and 242 by private organizations. TrueNat based testing labs are 491 that include 439 government and 52 private. CBNAAT based testing labs are 99, including 35 government and 64 private.
The expansion of laboratory capacity has seen exponential increase from one lab in January 2020 to 121 labs in March 2020 and to 1,223 labs so far.
During the last 24 hours, the ministry said, a total of 3,20,161 samples have been tested.
The cumulative number of samples tested, as of now is 1,24,12,664. The testing per million for India is consistently rising. It has now touched 8994.7, the ministry said, adding more than 3.2 lakh tests were done in a single day on Tuesday.
The data comes as India recorded the highest single-day spike of 29,429 coronavirus cases and 582 deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing the tally to 9,36,181 cases with a death toll of 24,309, the Health Ministry’s data stated on Wednesday.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at [email protected])