The Health Ministry on Friday again discouraged Covid-19 testing merely as a confidence-building measure. India has so far reported 2,301 confirmed Covid-19 cases. Of this, 56 people have died and 156 people have recovered.

In the daily press briefing, joint secretary in the Health Ministry, Lav Agarwal, said unnecessary testing “as a confidence-building measure alone”, especially when testing kits were limited, “may not be the right strategy” for the government.

“There is a particular process and particular guidelines that have to be followed,” he said, adding that the government was currently taking samples and conducting tests on people in areas that were considered hotspots of the coronavirus. Testing for severe acute respiratory illness and influenza-like illnesses was also being conducted, he said. If needed, the government will revise sampling criteria, but no such decisions have been taken yet, Agarwal added.

The Indian Council of Medical Research said 182 labs were in place for coronavirus testing in India. Of these, 130 are government and 52 private ones. The organisation added that around 8,000 samples – the daily highest so far – were tested on Thursday. So far, a total of 66,000 samples have been tested.

The health ministry on Friday also said that at least 647 confirmed coronavirus cases from 14 states were linked to the religious gathering of the Tablighi Jamaat in Delhi’s Nizamuddin area in March. At least seven people – one from Kashmir and six from Telangana – died of Covid-19 in the days following the congregation in Delhi. About 9,000 Tablighi Jamaat members and their primary contacts who attended the religious event – that later emerged as an infection hotspot – have been quarantined as of Thursday, the home ministry said.


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