India is currently in stage 2 of coronavirus outbreak: ICMR DG

  • All asymptomatic patients who have taken international flights in past 14 days should get tested if they develop symptoms, says Balram Bhargava
  • 'We appeal to all private laboratories to offer COVID-19 diagnosis free of cost,' says ICMR DG

Edited By J. Jagannath
First Published17 Mar 2020
Private NABL accredited laboratories will soon be operationalised, says ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava (Photo: ANI)
Private NABL accredited laboratories will soon be operationalised, says ICMR Director General Balram Bhargava (Photo: ANI)

The Director General of Indian Council of Medical Research said India is in stage 2 (local transmission) of coronavirus outbreak.

"There are four stages. third stage is community transmission which we hope we shouldn't have. It would depend on how strongly we close our international borders, in terms of which govt has taken very proactive steps. But can't say that community transmission won't happen," said Balram Bhargava.

"All asymptomatic patients who have taken international flights in past 14 days should get tested if they develop symptoms," said Bhargava.

"We are in the process of engaging private NABL accredited laboratories for carrying out testing of Covid-19 cases," said ICMR DG.

Speaking about the preparedness for the outbreak, Bhargava said, "We have already placed orders for 1 million probes, reagents and primers are unlimited. We have also requested WHO to provide us 1 million probes. We are also operationlising through two high-throughput systems, which are the rapid testing laboratories. They will be operationalised in two locations and they can test upto 1,400 samples per day in those labs. We're operationalising them by the end of this week."

He said currently 72 functional ICMR laboratories in govt sector are available for testing and 49 more will be active by month end. "We have also engaged non-ICMR, Ministry of Health, govt laboratories including CSIR, DRDO, DBT, govt medical colleges," he added.

"We appeal to all private laboratories to offer Covid-19 diagnosis free of cost," said Bhargava.

Private NABL accredited laboratories will soon be operationalised, he added.

Speaking to ANI, Dr R. Ganga Ketkar of ICMR said: "We are not averse to include the private sector. We have multiple safeguards in place. The discussions are on. Once it is done we will be proceeding to action. We are not averse to include the private sector in testing. However, we need to have multiple safeguard frames in place."

So far, India has confirmed 126 reported cases of Covid-19 and three people have lost their lives while being treated for the disease.

Last week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared coronavirus as a pandemic. Globally, over 1,45,000 confirmed cases have been reported and more than 5,400 people have lost their lives due to the disease.

With agency inputs

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