India achieved a big feat on Saturday as it completed one million real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests to identify people infected with coronavirus. According to officials, this is a major milestone in India's fight against coronavirus.
An Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) official confirmed the figure and said that the one-million mark was achieved on a day India saw the biggest single-day jump with 2,411 cases. The official said that 71 people died of coronavirus on Saturday.
Since January 30 this year, when the first positive case was detected, India conducted 1.04 million tests.
The milestone comes amid the ICMR's attempts to increase testing. The biomedical research agency had ramped up tests to more than 70,000-75,000 samples per day. According to officials, till March 31, 47,852 samples were tested, which increased to a total of 9,02,654 samples as on April 30. From May 1 till May 2 evening, 1,37,346 tests were done.
RT-PCR tests began with the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune and is now available in 292 government and 97 private facilities across the country.
Considered to be the most-effective diagnosis, RT-PCR is a throat and nasal swab test. It detects the virus early on, which is helpful in identifying and isolating an infected person.
Director General of ICMR Balram Bhargava said that the entire scientific and medical community including the private sector have all joined forces to tackle coronavirus. The Centre is also working with the states to ensure that the supply chain is maintained. "We have also decentralised the supply chain. The gold standard for COVID-19 testing remains and has remained the RT-PCR test which detects the novel coronavirus. This has been our principal strategy for testing," he said.
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