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NEW DELHI : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that efforts are underway to increase India’s covid-19 testing capacity to a million a day in the coming weeks.

Modi was speaking at the launch of three high throughput covid-19 testing facilities via video conferencing. These facilities are located at the National Institutes of Indian Council of Medical Research at Kolkata, Mumbai and Noida.

While the country had only one covid testing centre in January, Modi said, there are almost 1,300 such labs now. He said that at present, more than half a million tests are being conducted every day.

The prime minister said these hi-tech state-of-the-art testing facilities will boost the testing capacity by almost 10,000 daily. More tests will help in early detection and treatment, key to fighting the pandemic. He said that these labs will not be limited to testing for covid—in the future they will also be able to test for hepatitis B and C, HIV, dengue and several other diseases.

“India is better placed vis-a-vis other countries in terms of deaths due to covid-19. The recovery rate is also higher than other countries and is improving on a daily basis," said Modi, adding that the number of people who have recovered from the disease is nearly a million.

The PM said it was imperative for the country to develop a covid-specific health infrastructure quickly. “The Centre had announced a package of 15,000 crore at the beginning of this battle. The country now has more than 11,000 covid facilities and more than 11 lakh isolation beds," he said.

Modi said that India has become the second largest PPE kit manufacturer.

“The country has progressed from not having even a single PPE kit manufacturer as recently as six months ago, to having more than 1,200 manufacturers now, who are producing more than 5 lakh such kits daily."

He pointed out that from being an importer of N95 masks, India now produces more than 300,000 of these protective masks every day, while the annual production capacity of ventilators is another 300,000 and there has also been a significant increase in the production of medical oxygen cylinders.

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