The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has appealed to all the private labs across the country to conduct free testing to fight the Coronavirus. On Tuesday, March 17, While giving information about the steps being taken to fight Coronavirus, the Director-General of ICMR, Balaram Bhargava, said that several private labs have contacted him saying they want to check samples of Coronavirus for free. Therefore, he called upon all the big private laboratories of the country to do free sampling in the time of this epidemic.
Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry: ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) has strongly appealed that private laboratories should offer COVID-19 diagnosis at no cost. #Coronavirus pic.twitter.com/JhlgRj4DRt
— ANI (@ANI) March 17, 2020
According to Dr Bhargava, there are 72 such government labs in the country, where the virus can be tested. Tests conducted by these labs are completely valid. However, he said that only samples tested from these labs are sent to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) for quality control. According to the ICMR DG, from next week, 49 government labs will be ready in the country. These labs are associated with the Defense Institute DRDO, CISR, Department of Biotechnology and Government Medical Colleges.
The Director-General of ICMR also said that “ICMR is operationlising through 2 High-throughput systems which are the rapid testing laboratories. These will be operationalised in 2 locations and they can test up to 1400 samples per day in those labs and would be operationalised by the end of this week.” It is pertinent to note that ICMR is a leading institute for research and coordination of bio-medicine in the country with its headquarters in the capital Delhi.
Director-general of ICMR: We're also operationlising through 2 High-throughput systems which are the rapid testing laboratories. They will be operationalised in 2 locations & they can test upto 1400 samples per day in those labs. We're operationlising them by the end of this week pic.twitter.com/3z4m4mddtB
— ANI (@ANI) March 17, 2020
According to ICMR, the outbreak of the Coronavirus is at stage two in our country, so community transmission, that is stage 3, has not happened on a large scale. But, he said that one needs to be cautious for the time to come. For this, the boundaries of the country have to be completely closed for other countries.
The rules of the Coronavirus Test have also been questioned by many. According to multiple news reports, only those who have travelled abroad or have come in contact with a patient and are showing symptoms after 14 days of quarantine have been tested.
On Tuesday, it was announced that health workers, i.e. doctors and medical staff, with symptoms who are treating patients with severe respiratory illnesses, will undergo tests.
The centre has also advised all its ministries and departments to install a thermal scanner and also to keep sanitizers at the entry gate of buildings. Also, it has advised that all gyms, creches, and recreational centres in government complexes to be closed. The government has also advised people to avoid meetings and to take proper treatment and remain in quarantine, in case of a flu-like situation.
Other than this most state governments have closed all schools, gyms, swimming pools, and other public community activities.
The government has also advised private companies to allow its employees to work from home, though many companies have not complied with it and might need government checks and measures.
Along with the demand for sanitizers and masks resulting in a price hike and black marketing, the demand for groceries and items of daily needs has also increased and there are chances of price rise. This is also something that the government needs to look at.
On February 17, the District Magistrate of Gurugram advised all MNCs and Corporate offices to allow its employees to work from home.