Rapid Antigen Tests will now be allowed at all government and private health facilities to accelerate testing, the Union health ministry said on Tuesday. Indian Council of Medical Research Director General Dr Balram Bhargava said there was no accreditation required.
Reports of Rapid Antigen Tests come in a few hours. However, its reliability is still questionable. “Home-based testing solutions are being explored,” Bhargava added.
To ramp up the testing numbers, RAT booths will be set up in schools, colleges, community centers and Residents’ Welfare Association offices. The health ministry, however, added that Rapid Antigen Tests must be conducted in accordance with the algorithm defined by ICMR.
“All RTPCR and RAT test results should be uploaded on ICMR portal,” the ministry said.
Currently, India’s daily RT-PCR testing capacity is around 16 lakh, while RAT capacity is 17 lakh. In April and May, on average, a total of around 16 to 20 lakh tests were conducted. This included both RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen tests. On April 30, India had conducted 19,45,299 tests – the highest ever in the world, said Bhargava.
The ICMR chief added that India’s national Covid-19 positivity rate was around 21%. Of all states, Goa, Puducherry, West Bengal, Haryana, Karnataka have the highest case positivity right now. On the other hand, Maharashtra, Delhi, Chhattisgarh are among the 18 states that are showing a continued plateauing in daily infections.
There are more than 1 lakh active cases in 13 states, said the health ministry. It added that another six states have 50,000 to 1 lakh active cases while 17 states have fewer than 50,000 cases.