COVID-19: Harsh Vardhan praised the states for their continuous surveillance, effective tracing of contacts and preparedness to contain and manage the disease.
Coronavirus in India: Reviewing India’s sampling and testing strategy, Dr. Harsh Vardhan is leading India’s COVID-19 preparedness! As cases of COVID-19 are nearing 1,400, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan has been conducting meetings with various stakeholders to assess the ability and preparedness of the country in fighting with SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus causing COVID-19. In a statement released on Tuesday, the Union Health Ministry stated that Vardhan held a meeting with senior officials of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Department of Science and Technology, Bio-technology and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to review the sampling and testing strategy that India has been following so far.
The statement further said that the meeting included detailed discussions on website integration, procurement of regents, research studies which have been conducted so far as well as those which are planned, management and analysis of data and dashboards, among other issues.
Moreover, on Tuesday morning, Vardhan held a meeting with the health minister of all states and Union Territories and told them that the Centre would provide them with all possible support. He further praised the states for their continuous surveillance, effective tracing of contacts and preparedness to contain and manage the disease.
In the meeting, ICMR Director General Dr Balram Bhargava informed that presently, there are 129 laboratories of the government and 49 National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL)-accredited private labs which are functioning and they have a capacity of conducting 13,000 tests a day. Moreover, he informed that private chains have been functioning with around 16,000 collection centres.
In the meeting, it was also informed that an adequate number of testing kits had been procured and further distributed across the country for further testing. Order for Rapid Antibody testing kits had also been placed, Dr Vardhan was informed.
Dr Vardhan told the institutions fighting against the pandemic that extra support should be provided to the states and Union Territories which do not have any laboratories or testing facilities. Moreover, north-eastern states and Ladakh should also be given extra support, he directed.
There should be no compromise in the quality of testing kits procured by the government or the private labs, he ordered, adding that the quality of the kits should be assessed regularly.