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Home >News >India >Govt introduces ‘on-demand’ Covid-19 testing without a prescription

The Union Health Ministry updated its advisory on Covid-19 testing strategy and introduced on-demand testing without a prescription. However, it has given the state authorities the right to modify the modules accordingly.

"A totally new section has been added in the Advisory on “Testing on Demand" which for all practical purposes does away with prescription by a registered medical practitioner although state governments have the freedom to decide on simplified modalities," the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

The advisory elaborated testing on demand in various given settings:

It is to be noted that state governments need to decide simplified modalities. The on-demand testing facility can be availed by:

  • All individuals undertaking travel to countries/Indian states mandating a negative COVID-19 test at point of entry.
  • All individuals who wish to get themselves tested.

Tracking and contact tracing mechanisms should be ensured by the testing laboratories by notifying the public health authorities.

The health ministry also highlighted the frequency of Covid-19 testing. It stated that a single RT-PCR/TrueNat/CBNAAT/RAT positive test is to be considered confirmatory, without any repeat testing.

No re-testing is recommended prior to discharge from a COVID-19 facility after clinical recovery (please refer to MoHFW guidelines), including for transfer from a COVID area/ facility to a non-COVID area/ facility.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had earlier updated their Covid-19 testing strategy with the on-demand facility guidelines.

In its guidelines, ICMR suggested that 100 per cent of people living in containment zones should be tested by rapid antigen tests, particularly in cities where there has been widespread transmission of the infection.

“Ideally, it is suggested that 100% of people living in the containment zones should be tested by RAT particularly in cities where there has been a widespread transmission of the infection," say ICMR guidelines.

It also stressed that no emergency procedure (including deliveries) should be delayed for lack of tests, and pregnant women should not be referred for a lack of testing facility.

Mothers who test positive for COVID-19 should be advised to wear a mask and undertake frequent hand washing while handling their baby for 14 days. They should also be advised on breast cleaning before feeding the neonate.

Further, the existing recommendations related to testing for COVID-19 have been extended, elaborated and divided into four parts -- routine surveillance in containment zones and screening at points of entry, routine surveillance in non-containment areas, hospital settings and testing on demand -- and choice of test (RT-PCR, TrueNat or CBNAAT and rapid antigen tests) in order of priority has been listed. For details on the Covid-19 testing procedures, click here.

The guidlines also say that no emergency procedure should be delayed for the want of a test.

If symptoms develop following a negative RAT test, a repeat RAT or RT-PCR should be done, it added.

Home quarantine for 14 days is recommended for all individuals before undergoing elective surgery to minimise chances of infection before the procedure

Meanwhile, India's Covid-19 infection tally sprinted past 40 lakh, with a record 86,432 cases being reported in a single-day, while recoveries have surged to 31,07,223 on Saturday pushing the recovery rate to 77.23%, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

The total coronavirus cases mounted to 40,23,179, while the death toll climbed to 69,561 with 1,089 people succumbing to the disease in a span of 24 hours, data updated at 8 am showed.

There are 8,46,395 active cases of coronavirus infection, which is 21.04 per cent of the total caseload, the data stated.

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