New Delhi: Expressing concern over under-utilisation of testing capacity of private labs, the Union government has urged States to take urgent steps to redress the situation so that testing and tracking efforts to combat Covid-19 are enhanced.
Pulling up States for not utilising the full potential of private labs, health secretary Preeti Sudan said in a letter, “The capacity utilisation of private laboratories for Covid-19 is grossly sub-optimal.” Sudan urged States to ensure full utilisation of all Covid-19 testing laboratories.
States/UTs have been advised to facilitate testing at the earliest by enabling all qualified medical practitioners, including private practitioners, to prescribe COVID test to any individual fulfilling the criteria for testing as per ICMR guidelines.
Rapid antigen-based testing kits which can check for the presence of the virus by testing blood samples from suspects by one company has also been validated and more such kits could get approved soon to give more testing options to people, the Centre said.
“However, it has been observed that in some states/UTs, the capacity utilisation of the testing labs particularly in the private sector is grossly sub-optimal,” the letter said.
ICMR has strongly recommended that laboratories should be free to test any individual in accordance to the ICMR Guidelines and State authorities must not restrict an individual from getting tested, as early testing will help in containing the virus and saving lives.