The Centre on Tuesday asked the States and Union Territories to enhance Covid-19 testing in a strategic manner to track spread of the pandemic.

“Testing remains a key and crucial component of the framework,” Union Health Ministry said in a letter to the states and UTS, adding that “It is seen from available data on the ICMR portal that testing has declined in many states and Union Territories.”

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The ministry has clarified about the recent ICMR guidelines on Covid testing which said that the contacts of confirmed cases of Covid- 19 unless identified as high risk based on age and co- morbidities do not need to be tested.

The basic objective of all guidelines remains an early detection of cases for quick isolation and care. In addi- tion, testing remains a key strategy for the pandemic management on two counts identification of new clusters and new hotspots of infection which can in turn facilitate immediate action for containment such as setting up containment zones, contact tracing and others and ensuring reduction in mortality and morbidity, the letter read. Delinating on the ICMR testing advisory issued on January 10, Arti Ahuja, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Health, said in the letter, “All those who are symptomatic must be tested in community settings. All at risk contracts of laboratory confirmed cases must also be tested”.

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