States asked not to use Chinese coronavirus test kits for two days

Topics Coronavirus

Health workers wearing protective suits walk on a street during their door-to-door survey to detect COVID-19 positive cases amid a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, in Kolkata
States must not use rapid test kits procured from China for two days after Rajasthan complained about poor coronavirus detection, said a senior government scientist on Tuesday. 

“In two days we will issue an advisory to states. These findings cannot be ignored but we have to remember it is a first generation test and so it may be a bit crude,” said Raman R Gangakhedkar, head scientist at the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), at a press conference in Delhi.

ICMR teams will validate the kits and based on their reports the government will ask companies for replacements. 

Raghu Sharma, Rajasthan’s health minister, had said that of the 168 tests on confirmed coronavirus cases, the kits had an accuracy rate of 5.4 per cent. 

ICMR decided to hold off testing after feedback from three states. “In Delhi, when we tested the patients who were positive under the RTPCR test we had 71 per cent positive results...This variation (in the other state) is huge and we will take it into account,” Gangakhedkar said. 

India got 5 lakh rapid antibody test kits from China last week, meaning to use them for health surveillance and to understand coronavirus trends. 

Coronavirus count

India had nearly 19,000 coronavirus cases and 603 deaths from the disease, according to health ministry data on Tuesday. Of all the cases, 69 per cent were asymptomatic and 31 per cent showed symptoms.

The ministry, while quoting worldwide data, said that 80 per cent cases have mild or no symptoms, 15 per cent have severe symptoms and 5 per cent show critical symptoms. Patients are found in three stages: pre-symptomatic, asymptomatic and symptomatic. 

 “We are testing asymptomatic people who are among the high risk contacts according to the protocol put in place,” said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary in the ministry, at the same press conference.

Till Tuesday, there were 61 districts in India where no positive cases have been found in the last 14 days.

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