India logs 75,000 Covid-19 tests per day, crosses 1 million mark

NEW DELHI: On Saturday, India crossed 1 million (), a milestone, recording more than 75,000 tests per day with 419 laboratories working across the country.

With almost a 24-hour work schedule, 7 days a week, 7 days a week in the past month to accelerate India's health infrastructure amid a deadly pandemic, these 40 days of national closure have seen the government press 14 mentoring institutions like AIIMS, PGI Chandigarh, CMC Vellore, JIPMER Puducherry, SGPIMS Lucknow, AIIMS Bhubaneshwar, etc. to assist and train these medical colleges/laboratories/hospitals in testing. In addition, 15 institutions across the country are working as warehouses to supply test kits/material to these laboratories.

With the general national closure yielding to a more gradual opening, the responsibility for staying safe will pass from the government to the individual.

Leading government sources said they would maintain their focus on increasing the testing, quarantine, and treatment of patients with Covid. There would be an aggressive follow-up of the contact and quarantine of those suspected of infections.

But individuals, communities, and society will be called to help stop the infection. That would mean making the elderly and vulnerable stay home and out of danger. The vulnerable in this case are people with comorbidities such as diabetes, heart problems, hypertension and kidney disorders, who have difficulty recovering from this virus.

Social distancing will become the norm, introducing behavioral change in a crowded society like India. Flu-like hand washes, masks, and symptom reporting will be applied, either at the state or local level.

Government sources say that while India may have had reasonable success in controlling the worst of the outbreak, the danger still remains.

Last month, government sources said, they had attempted a Herculean task to streamline India's otherwise crumbling health infrastructure to deal with this deadly pandemic. We did not want a situation in which patients died from lack of oxygen as has happened in some of the developed countries, they said. The blockade, which many have argued, is the toughest in the world, helped delay the spike and gave authorities time to prepare.

In recent days, the government has called private clinics and hospitals for refusing to treat patients for fear that their own healthcare workers will get sick. They must protect themselves with PPE, but they cannot stop treating patients who come with other illnesses to their hospitals.

Last week, the central government had to intervene with Delhi authorities so they could eliminate a bottleneck in the tests and bring private laboratories into their grasp.