ICMR issues new guidelines for COVID-19 testing; check details here

No need for RT-PCR tests if tested positive once either by RAT or RT-PCR.


The Indian Council of Medical Research has issued new guidelines for COVID-19 testing amid a spurt of coronavirus cases in the country.

According to the new guidelines issued on Tuesday, people who tested positive for COVID-19 once either by Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) or RT-PCR must not be tested again.

"RT-PCR test must not be repeated in any individual who has tested positive once either by RAT or RT-PCR," the ICMR said in a circular to states.

The ICMR stated that India has a total of 2506 molecular testing laboratories, including RT-PCR, TrueNat, CBNAAT and other platforms. However, the laboratories are facing challenges to meet the testing target because of the rapidly growing caseloads.

"The need for RT-PCR test in healthy individuals undertaking inter-state domestic travel may be completely removed to reduce the load on laboratories," it stated.

"No testing is required for COVID-19-recovered individuals at the time of hospital discharge," it added.

Non-essential travel and inter-state travel of people with COVID-19 symptoms should be avoided to reduce the risk of infection. All asymptomatic individuals undertaking essential travel must follow Covid-appropriate behaviour, the ICMR added.

Meanwhile, India recorded 3,82,315 new COVID-19 positive cases on Wednesday, taking the country's COVID-19 caseload to 2,06,65,148 while 3,780 more fatalities pushed the death toll to 2,26,188, according to the Union Health Ministry.  

India is second only to the United States in the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reported since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.

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First Published:May 5, 2021, 2:34 p.m.

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