NEW DELHI: Authorities on Thursday said that the daily Covid testing in India, which has now reached over 20 lakh-mark, will reach 25 lakh by the end of this month and will exponentially rise to 45 lakhs by June-end as the pandemic has struck the country’s vast rural areas.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, over 20 lakh tests were conducted to detect fresh Covid cases, even though the second wave of the fierce pandemic has shown signs of ebbing and daily cases, along with 7-day moving test positivity rate, has been falling down.
In a press briefing on the Covid situation by the Union Health Ministry, ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava said that more Rapid Antigen Tests should be done because one can get results rapidly and then isolate the patient soon after.
His emphasis on wider use of RAT comes a day after the health research body and India’s nodal agency for fight against Covid approved a home testing kit, CoviSelf, by Pune-based Mylab Discovery Solutions, set to hit the market in about 10 days.
The product is priced at Rs 250 and can be used by symptomatic individuals or close contacts of lab confirmed cases using a mobile app that is linked to ICMR’s centralised testing portal. Bhargava said three more such testing kits are in the pipeline.
Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the ministry, meanwhile, citing a small survey, said that lack of Covid appropriate behaviour remains a concern as the exercise showed that 50% people still do not wear a mask, 20% wear it under the chin and only 14% wear it properly.
He added that eight states in the country now have more than 1 lakh active cases, 9 states have between 50,000-1 lakh active cases and 19 states have less than 50,000 active cases.
"Some states like Karnataka and West Bengal that are showing positivity of over 25% which remain a concern," he added.
As per the data shared, India witnessed a consistent upward trend in weekly tests for Covid since mid-February and average daily tests have increased by 2.3 times in the past 12 weeks, the ministry said.
After a consistent increase in Covid case positivity for 10 weeks, a decline has been reported since the last two weeks, Agarwal maintained.
The number of districts reporting a decline in case positivity increased from 210 in April 29-May 5 to 303 districts in May 13-19, the ministry said, indicating it is a good sign. He also said seven states have more than 25% case positivity, while 22 states have more than 15% case positivity.