Centre asks states, UTs to ramp up Covid-19 testing

The Centre has advised states and Union territories to ramp up testing as part of measures to keep the increase in Covid-19 cases in check.

“With a continuous surge in daily cases in European and the American countries, India is taking all cautionary steps to bring the trajectory of the disease under control. In view of the increase in Covid cases in some of the north Indian states, the Centre has advised all states and UTs [Union territories] to ramp up testing,” Union health ministry said in a statement.

After dropping to 3.4%, India’s daily positivity rate, or the number of samples that test positive among those tested, has remained at just over 4%. Experts say the spread of the infection is under control if the positivity rate remains at 5% or less for around two weeks.

India has been conducting one million tests daily and performed 130 million since the country started testing in mid-January.

Delhi has reported a third surge in the number of cases since the second-week of October. The highest–8,593–cases were recorded on November 11 and most deaths in a day (131) were reported on November 18. Delhi has been conducting the highest number of tests per-million population.

States like Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and Rajasthan have reported the highest new cases but conduct fewer tests per-million than the national average of 94,679, as per the health ministry data.

Of the 564 deaths reported on Friday, 83% were in 10 states. Maharashtra topped the list with 155 deaths, followed by Delhi (118), and West Bengal (50).

With the number of cases and positivity rate slightly lower than last week, experts believe the higher number of deaths in Delhi is because of the cases that had been reported earlier. “The increase in the number of deaths is not unexpected. There is always a lag between the spike in the number of cases and deaths. It is the time between people getting diagnosed; their hospitalisation and death. Also, when…the number of cases is huge, the number of deaths will also be more. But the case fatality ratio continues to be 1.57%,” said Dr Rajinder K Dhamija of the Lady Hardinge Medical College.

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