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Nine more government medical colleges to conduct Covid-19 tests across India

At present, the number of confirmed cases of corona virus has touched to 126 and the total number of passengers who have been screened at airport are 13,19,363, as on March 17, 2020

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With the rising numbers of Covid-19 cases in India, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has announced that nine more Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratories (VRDL) at government medical colleges across the country will start functioning at the earliest. At present, ICMR has 51 virus testing centres/labs which will now be expanded to 65 labs across India. The government has made it mandatory to conduct Covid-19 testing on patients showing symptoms to avoid community spread. The secondary test for reconfirmation of the virus, which was earlier conducted only in National Institute of Virology, has also been expanded to 31 labs. These steps will enable India to expedite the screening process and will help in the effective management of the disease.

The nine new testing centres are Darbhanga Medical College, Darbhanga from Bihar, Late Sri Baliram Kashyap Memorial Govt. Medical College, Jagdalpur from Chhattisgarh, Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi, Army Hospital (R&R), from New Delhi, Command Hospital, Udhampur from Jammu & Kashmir, Command Hospital, Bangaluru from Karnataka, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune from Maharashtra, Madras Medical College, Chennai from Tamil Nadu and Command Hospital, Lucknow from Uttar Pradesh.

Dr LK Sharma, Scientist-E, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) informed, “Understanding the current situation of Covid-19 in India, there is a dire need to have more laboratories to conduct the tests. With 63 laboratories (62 VRDLs and 01 NCDC) ,which are functioning to test Covid-19, nine more laboratories will start functioning shortly.”

Unlike other countries, the Indian government is providing Covid-19 testing free of cost. However, the government spends around Rs 6,000 to Rs 6,500 on each test. Recently, the centre also announced that accredited private labs will also be allowed to test for Covid-19.

Till date, ICMR has tested more than 6,500 samples of 5,900 individuals, out of which 78 cases have been tested positive for the virus. ICMR is equipped to handle more volumes of samples if the need arises.

At present, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus has touched to 126 and total number of passengers who have been screened at various airports are 13,19,363, as of March 17, 2020.

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