Covid-19: in the midst of the exodus of migrants, ICMR reviews the test strategy

NEW DELHI: Amid a strong movement across the country, the Office of Medical Research (ICMR) has revised its Covid-19 testing strategy to include all returnees and migrants who are shown to have influenza-like illnesses (ILI ) within seven days after the development of the disease.

In addition to an urgent push to monitor migrant workers for the flu and fever, everyone involved in containment and mitigation of Covid-19 will also be assessed through the gold standard RT-PCR test given the large number of those people, including Asha workers and municipal officials involved in the exercise.

Until now, this procedure was applicable only to symptomatic healthcare workers. Under the revised strategy, RT-PCR testing would also be extended to cover all hospitalized patients who develop symptoms of ILI. However, the council emphasized that no emergency clinical procedures, including deliveries, should be delayed for lack of evidence. But a sample can be sent for analysis simultaneously if the person showed the symptoms prescribed in the guidelines.

The guidelines also state that direct, high-risk asymptomatic contacts of a confirmed case should be tested once between day five and day 10 of contact, according to the new ICMR testing strategy. Asymptomatic contacts of a confirmed case were being tested once between day five and day 14, until now.

Authorities said the strategy has been revised in light of broader relaxations and provisions to restart economic activities in the fourth phase of the shutdown, which has also raised concerns about an increase in cases. So far, despite groups with high incidence of disease in various cities, India has prevented the spread of the community which would lead to a strong exponential increase in cases.

“There is a huge movement of migrant workers, who need proof once they reach their destination. Containment activities also need to be increased, and states have been asked to deploy a sizeable workforce for surveillance and mitigation as we open economic activities in all areas. So certainly more aggressive testing and testing will be required, even if we have to do it in a reasoned way, ”an official said.

The number of deaths from Covid-19 rose to 3,029 and cases rose to 96,169 on Monday, registering an increase of 157 deaths and a record jump of 5,242 cases in 24 hours from Sunday at 8 a.m., due to the increase. of the numbers in Maharashtra.

The case of ILI is defined as one with acute respiratory infection with fever greater than or equal to 38 degrees Celsius and cough, while a case of SARI is one with acute respiratory infection with fever greater than or equal to 38 degrees Celsius and cough and requiring hospitalization. ICMR stated.

Until now, people with ILI symptoms living in critical areas or containment areas, patients with severe acute respiratory infection (SARI), and symptomatic healthcare workers have been tested for infection according to the guidelines.

All asymptomatic individuals with a history of international travel in the past 14 days and all symptomatic contacts of laboratory confirmed cases are also being tested.