The Indian Council of Medical Research on Friday recommended “testing for demand” for those who wish to get tested for the coronavirus infection, any person travelling to other countries, or states that mandate a negative Covid report at the point of entry. The states, however, can simplify the modalities to facilitate the testing process, it added.

In a set of fresh guidelines, the top medical body also recommended that all people living in containment zones, especially those in cities where there has been a widespread transmission of the coronavirus, should be tested using the Rapid Antigen Test.

It further said that no emergency procedure, including pregnancies, should be delayed due to a lack of testing.

The ICMR also clarified the method of testing to be used on a priority basis. For containment zones, the Rapid Antigen Test or RAT should be the first choice of testing. In hospitals and non-containment zones, RT-PCR tests should be the first priority.

In containment zones, high-risk contacts of a confirmed patient such as elders above the age of 65 and those with co-morbidities should be tested between day 5 and day 10 of coming in contact with the infected person, the ICMR said.

In non-containment zones, all symptomatic persons with an international travel history in the past 14 days, all symptomatic healthcare, frontline workers and those who have come in contact with a Covid-19 positive patient should be tested using RT-PCR test, the medical body said. It added that all asymptomatic high-risk individuals, including those more 65 years old, should be tested using Rapid Antigen Test.

In hospital settings, all patients of Severe Acute Respiratory Infection, pregnant women or those in labour, and high-risk individuals, including those with chronic co-morbidities, and patients diagnosed with malignant disease should be tested giving RT-PCR tests a priority, the ICMR said. It, however, advised against having asymptomatic patients undertaking surgical or non-surgical invasive procedures tested for more than once a week during a hospital stay.

The guidelines also pointed out that a single RT-PCR, TrueNat, CBNAAT or RAT positive test should be considered confirmatory. No re-testing is recommended prior to discharge from a Covid-19 facility after clinical, it added.

Further, if a patient develops symptoms following a negative Rapid Antigen Test, a repeat RAT or RT-PCR should be done.

The ICMR also recommended home quarantine for individuals undergoing elective surgical procedures to minimise the risk of the spread of the virus.

India’s coronavirus cases reached 40,23,179 on Saturday, after the Ministry of Health reported a record rise of 86,432 cases in the last 24 hours. The toll rose by 1,089 to 69,561. India has 8,46,395 active cases now. India is likely to soon overtake Brazil, which has 40.91 lakh cases so far.