India on Monday reported nearly 600 fewer cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) than Sunday even as the country’s infection tally went up to 27,892, the Union health ministry’s data showed.
There were 1,396 new cases of Covid-19 and 48 deaths in the last 24 hours as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to interact with chief ministers in a video conference that is expected to focus on the next move in India’s battle plan against Covid-19.
According to the Union health ministry dashboard at 8am, there are 20,835 active Covid-19 cases and 381 more people, or 6,184 so far, have been cured or discharged from hospitals in the last 24 hours. The country’s death toll so far is 872.
The Prime Minister had in his Sunday’s Mann ki Baat episode hailed citizens for going beyond their call of duty and leading the battle against the disease but also warned against any complacency over the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
Union health minister Harsh Vardhan has also said India’s strategy to manage the disease won’t change and it will “aggressively look within the community for those who have been infected. Look for them, test them, isolate them, and treat them”.
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Field tests to determine the reliability of the new, quick-result blood tests bought by India have been inconclusive, according to an official from India’s top medical research body.
“The experts are working to find out the cause of such huge variations in test results, and until they reach any conclusion, it is advised to the states to not use rapid test kits for Covid-19 testing,” an Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) official has said.
The development deals a blow to plans of many states to ramp up testing by deploying the kits that were imported less than a fortnight ago. Their use was halted within a couple of days after they returned wildly varying results, often giving false negatives.
Rapid test kits were being seen as crucial in efforts to speed up Covid-19 testing, which at present is done through the RT-PCR mechanism that takes about 24-48 hours to process.