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Cases with fever, sore throat, breathlessness should be tested for COVID-19, Centre tell states

New Delhi : Amid a rise in COVID-19 cases, the Centre on Friday called upon states and union territories to consider anyone with fever, headache, sore throat, breathlessness, body ache as a suspect case of COVID-19 and conduct tests. "lt is also emphasized that during the current upsurge of COVID-19 cases, any individual with fever with/without cough, headache, sore throat, breathlessness, body ache, recent loss of taste or smell, fatigue and diarrhoea should be considered as a suspect case of COVID-19 unless proven otherwise by confirmation of another etiology. All such individuals must be tested. While awaiting the test results, they should be advised to immediately isolate themselves and follow the home isolation guidelines of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare," Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said in a letter to states and UTs. Bhushan also asked the states and UTs to ramp up rapid antigen tests (RAT) as RTPCR-based testing leads to delays in confirming the diagnosis due to its turnaround time of 5-8 hours.He urged them to set up multiple RAT booths on a 24/7 basis and permit RATs at government and private hospitals, including all districts hospitals and primary healthcare centres. "Use of self-tests/home tests may be encouraged for symptomatic individuals. Seven such home testing kits have been approved so far, and two of them are also available on the GeM portal," the letter states. "All RT-PCR and RAT results should be uploaded on the ICMR portal," it added. India has a network of 3,117 molecular testing laboratories, which includes 2,014 RTPCR, 941 TrueNat, 132 CBNAAT and 30 other testing platforms. India's estimated daily molecular testing capacity is more than 20 lakh per day. India on Friday reported 16,764 new cases of COVID-19 while 1,270 cases of its Omicron variant.

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