Chart: As India Increases Covid-19 Testing, New Infections Spurt
India has seen Covid-19 infections rise almost tenfold in the last two weeks. And though the spurt may seem scary, it could well be a result of simply testing more samples.
India had 1,834 confirmed cases as of April 1, according to data released by the Health Ministry. That compares with 137 till March 17. The spurt coincides with the number of samples tested for the novel coronavirus in India, which nearly quadrupled during the period. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research, by March 31, India had tested 47,951 samples compared with 12,513 till March 17.
The rise in testing could also be partly attributed to the ICMR increasing its testing labs across the country after the government allowed private labs to conduct tests.
To be sure, ICMR Chief Epidemiologist RR Gangakhedkar has said that despite higher testing, India is only utilising a third of its overall testing capacity of 12,000 samples a day.
Still, India needs to test more. Much more, going by the advice of the World Health Organization. Some of the countries across the globe which have managed to control fatalities from Covid-19, such as Germany and South Korea, have one thing in common: they tested a lot.
The role of testing in flattening the curve of epidemics cannot be emphasised enough, WHO has said. “We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test. Test every suspected case.”
“All countries should be able to test all suspected cases,” WHO’s Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a media conference on March 16. “They cannot fight this pandemic blindfolded; they should know where the cases are.”