The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued guidelines regarding RT-PCR tests. Due to the rise in cases, laboratories in India are facing testing target challenges. They have been burdened and are unable to meet the requirements. Keeping this in mind, ICMR has issued fresh COVID-19 testing guidelines.
New Guidelines for RT-PCR Testing
ICMR has issued new guidelines for RT-PCR COVID-19 testing. Although, the Centre has always asked to increase the testing capacity as much as possible. 70 percent of the total COVID-19 tests are RT-PCR. With the rise in cases, the workload on laboratories increased too. However, ICMR issued new testing guidelines on Tuesday to take offload from the lab workers. No RT-PCR tests have been recommended if:
- An individual has tested positive through Rapid Antigen Test.
- An individual has been positive once via the RT-PCR test.
- Also, one who has completed 10 days of home isolation with no fever from the last three days.
- No need for a test at the time of hospital discharge.
- A healthy individual who is traveling interstate needs no RT-PCR test.
Reason Behind the New Guidelines
India has approximately 2,506 molecular testing laboratories. Testing kits are ready and available. However, various staff in these laboratories have tested positive for the virus in the past few days. Additionally, India saw a sudden explosion in COVID-19 infections. Many staff from the labs are off-duty. This is creating a burden on the laboratories. It is now taking 72 hours to process the RT-PCR test. Therefore, ICMR has asked the Centre to focus on Rapid Antigen Test. RAT should be conducted at hospitals, offices, healthcare centers, etc.
Who can get an RT-PCR Test?
Anybody who has tested negative from the Rapid Antigen Test and wants to confirm can go through an RT-PCR test. Moreover, ICMR has also made vaccination status mandatory on the RAT testing form. It would be easier to track people getting positive after vaccination.
ICMR has also mentioned that any individual with Covid-like symptoms should be considered a suspect. These symptoms are namely:
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste and smell
- Body ache
- Breathlessness, etc.
People with these symptoms should be considered as a suspect. However, getting confirmed through any test is mandatory. Besides that, getting vaccinated is advised