LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh has become the first state in India to get the approval by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for "pool testing" of samples of COVID-19 suspects in order to increase the rate of sample testing in the state with soaring cases.
The "pool testing" involves testing upto five samples in a single test. So far, one sample is being tested at a time.
Currently, the state health authorities are collecting over 2200 samples daily and around 2000 are being tested on a daily basis.
The ICMR nod assumes significance in the wake of the rising coronavirus cases in state where the number of patients stands at 639 till Tuesday morning and eight persons have succumbed to the deadly virus.
According to Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare, Amit Mohan Prasad, the ICMR had given permission for testing multiple samples in one go. “This will jack up the daily testing capacity of the state labs. Uttar Pradesh is the first state to have got the ICMR approval for pool testing, a protocol in this regard would soon be chalked out,” he said.
Citing an example to explain pool testing of samples, the principal secretary said that if 10 persons are suspected and their samples have been collected.
“Under pool testing, all 10 samples would be mixed and tested, if the mixture tests negative, then no further test of any of the 10 suspects would be tested but if the mixture gives indication of coronavirus strains, then individual testing would be held. This will accelerate the process of testing,” said the
Prasad also announced the commencement of telephonic consultation facility in UP as part of which people can call on toll free number 18001805145. The Principal Secretary said that a group of doctors would be helping people in satiating their curiosity and medical queries on telephone through the helpline. He added that doctors who have retired from the army and the government and even private practitioner could register to impart services through tele-consultation.
Meanwhile, pre-empting extension to the lockdown, CM Yogi Adityanath has already announced the formation of committees that would look into several measures to be adopted during the extended lockdown. All ministers, especially those under whom committees have been set up to facilitate operations in the state during the extended lockdown, have been asked to attend office from April 15.
CM Yogi had held a high profile meeting with his ministers to chalk out a strategyfor future.
“Certain committees have been set up to work after April 15. These committees have been given specific tasks. One such panel, headed by Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, will ensure that social distancing is followed in construction-related work and other activities, including on the expressway,” he said.
He added that another committee, headed by Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma, would take care of the syllabus for online classes for the students during lockdown in the state.
Moreover, a committee was set up under state agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi to protect the interests of farmers, ensure procurement of Rabi crop. Simialrly, a revenue committee has been set up under state financé minister Suresh Khanna to ensure flow of revenue to carry out operations during the
lockdown. He will also ensure that industry and MSMEs start operations while following social distancing.
Simialrly. State labour minister Swamy Prasad Maurya will head the committee set up to safeguard the rights of labourers and daily wagers, Social welfare minister Ramapati Shastri would ensure hassle free distribution of ration and other pension related facilities during lockdown, health minister JP Singh would head the committee set up to ensure emergency health services and facilitate teleconsultation to people.
For potable water consolidation in regions like Bundelkhand and Vindhyachal, Jalskati minister Dr Mahendra Singh would head the committee concerned. Rural Development minister Moti Singh would ensure sanitization and cleanliness in rural areas to arrest the march of the deadly virus, Ashutosh Tandon will take care of urban areas. Minister for differently abled people, Anil Rajbhar would help the ‘Divyangs ‘ to sustain during lock down.