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ICMR issues revised COVID-19 testing strategy

IANS May 19, 2020

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), on May 18, released a revised COVID-19 testing strategy, which included testing of all symptomatic influenza like illness (ILI) among returnees and migrants within 7 days of illness.

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According to new strategy, no emergency procedure (including deliveries) should be delayed for the lack of test. But the sample can be sent for testing simultaneously if the person showed symptoms prescribed in the guideline.

Frontline workers involved in containment and mitigation of COVID-19 will also be tested. Beside the earlier categories of individuals fitting the testing criteria, the ICMR said asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of confirmed cases be tested once between day 5 and day 10 of coming into contact. "All hospitalised patients who develop ILI symptoms, symptomatic individuals with history of international travel in the last 14 days, symptomatic contacts of laboratory confirmed cases, symptomatic healthcare workers, patients of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI), symptomatic ILI within hotspots and containment zones to be tested for the COVID-19," the ICMR said.

ILI case is defined as one with acute respiratory infection with 38 degree Celsius fever or more than that and cough, while SARI is acute respiratory infection with 38 degree Celsius fever or more than that and the patient requiring hospitalisation. The ICMR said all testing in the categories mentioned in the guideline, is recommended by real-time RT-PCR test only.

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