Star Online Report
India is going to almost double its present daily capacity of conducting tests for coronavirus infection by the end of next month, said Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.
“We are going to increase the numbers of government labs to 300 and ramp up our present daily testing capacity of 55,000 to one lakh per day by 31st May, 2020,” he said during a virtual meeting between health ministers of WHO member-countries last night.
Vardhan said India stands on “a better footing” in combating Covid-19 than the rest of the world “because of the valuable and sincere services of our corona warriors,” reports our New Delhi correspondent.
Referring to the active surveillance efforts made by government agencies to monitor potential victims or carriers of the disease, he said “we know the enemy and its whereabouts. We are able to check this enemy through community surveillance, issuance of various advisories, cluster containment and dynamic strategy.”
Vardhan also said “India’s response has been proactive, pre-emptive and graded in handling the situation arising out of COVID-19 outbreak.”
He said India had only one lab at the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune to perform tests for Covid-19 initially but in the last three months “we have scaled up the number of government labs to 230 aided by another 87 private labs with more than 16,000 swab collection centres.”
Elaborating on the preparations made by India to deal with the pandemic, he said “the government has ensured preparedness for high loads of patients in times to come. The government has classified COVID treatment facilities based on severity of the disease, into three categories, which are – COVID Care Centres for patients with mild symptoms, COVID Health Care Centres – for patients with medium symptoms and Dedicated COVID Hospitals for patients with severe symptoms.”
In all, India has 2,033 dedicated facilities with more than 1,90,000 isolation beds, more than 24,000 ICU beds and more than 12,000 ventilators which have been organised in the last three months, Vardhan said.
His remarks came ahead of an update from the health ministry this morning when the official death count for coronavirus in India was pegged at 714 and the total number of positive cases at 23,077.