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ICMR lauds Kerala’s containment strategy for COVID-19

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Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar, Chief of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases, ICMR, the country was now in a position to ramp up tests up to 1.25 lakh a day in the government sector

The Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) lauded the containment strategy and the robust public healthcare system of Kerala and said it would ‘ continue referring to the Kerala model’ for testing and containment strategies.

Dr Raman R Gangakhedkar, Chief of Epidemiology and Communicable Diseases, ICMR, said India has evolved a strong COVID-19 testing regime over the last three months.

He was responding to queries from mediapersons at an online interaction, which was streamed live on Facebook by Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Kerala, in Thiruvananthapuram.

“Kerala is offering one of the best containment strategies and it is unparalleled. So we will continue to refer to the Kerala model as far as testing and containment strategies are concerned,” Gangakhedkar said.

He said the country was now in a position to ramp up tests up to 1.25 lakh a day in the government sector.

“We have expanded the criteria of testing as much as we could. After starting from scratch three months back, the last test we have done was 72,000 today. This is a significantly high number. We are in a position to ramp up testing up to 1.25 lakh a day,” he added.

The interaction was an initiative by the state Health Department to explain the technical aspects of the widely-debated COVID-19 testing.

A high-level team of the state led by Health Minister KK Shailaja, Health Secretary Rajan Khobragade, Dr B Ekbal, who heads the expert panel that advises the government on prevention of the coronavirus and National Health Mission state director, Dr Rathan U Kelkar among others participated.

When asked about the certain test results coming up with false negatives or positives, Ekbal said such results were ‘rare instances’ of human error.

“We have conducted as many as over 35,000 tests in Kerala. Only two or three went wrong. That kind of an average exists even in missions that are less pressing,” he said.

Health Secretary Khobragade said the tests were being carried out in accordance with certain protocol.

“Any minute variation in the process involving swab collection, its transportation and the manner of reception at the lab also may impact the test,” he said, and explained how efficiently the government facilitates the flow of communication to the patient about the result of the test for COVID-19.

Kerala reported two positive cases of coronavirus taking the total number of cases in the state to 499.

The state has till now cured 400 patients but lost three.

There are 96 people under treatment in Kerala, as per the latest medical report.

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