Revising its strategy to fight the spread of COVID-19, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Thursday said people having symptoms like fever, cough, sore throat and runny nose and residing in hotspots or cluster areas and in evacuee centres will now be tested for coronavirus infection.
Till now, all hospitalised patients with severe acute respiratory illness, shortness of breath and having fever and cough were being tested for COVID-19 infection.
Also, asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of a confirmed case are also tested once between day 5 and day 14 of coming in his or her contact.
Besides, all asymptomatic individuals who undertook international travel in the last 14 days and developed symptoms, all symptomatic contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases and all symptomatic health care workers were being tested for the infection as per the guidelines.
In hotspots or clusters and in large migration gatherings and evacuee centres, all symptomatic influenza-like illness (fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose) will be tested for rRT-PCR within 7 days of illness and after 7 days of illness antibody test will be conducted if negative, confirmed by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction or rRT-PC test.
The apex body for biomedical research revised its strategy in view of a spurt in coronavirus cases in the country this week.
The new strategy aims to contain the spread of infection more effectively and to provide reliable diagnosis to all individuals meeting the inclusion criteria of COVID-19 testing.
The death toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 169 and the number of cases climbed to 5,865 in the country on Thursday registering an increase of 591 cases since Wednesday, according to the Union Health Ministry.
However, a PTI tally of figures reported by various states as on Thursday showed at least 6624 cases and 225 deaths.
There has been a lag in the Union Health Ministry figures, compared to the number of cases and deaths announced by different states, which officials attribute to procedural delays in assigning the cases to individual states.