Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) senior scientist Nivedita Gupta has said that the government-run facility has 1.5 lakh test kits and have ordered a million more. In an interview with the Indian Express, Gupta said that ICMR was conducting 6,000 tests per day, but only for symptomatic travelers, lab-confirmed infected, and health workers.
She added that in a country like India, it’s not possible to test everyone who wants to be randomly tested. “The incubation period is between 2 and 14 days. In case an individual has a long incubation period, but tests negative, it may give them a false sense of security even when the test is meaningless,” she said.
Gupta may have a point. Four days ago, investor Mahesh Murthy took to Twitter to talk about how difficult it was to do a COVID-19 test in Mumbai. Murthy, who was travelling from Amsterdam to Mumbai on March 11, wanted to get tested for COVID-19 but had to face hardship and couldn’t get tested. "So I tried to get tested for #COVID19. Really. I have no symptoms, but wanted to be sure. I got off a flight from Amsterdam yesterday at 0100, and took a cab straight to Kasturba Hospital in #Mumbai, the only authorized #coronavirus test center in the city," Murthy tweeted.
At the time of Mahesh Murthy’s tweets, India was testing passengers coming from 12 selected countries.
However, on Tuesday, the number of nations has increased. Further tightening the lockdown to contain the coronavirus spread, the government on Tuesday imposed fresh travel restrictions prohibiting the entry of travellers from Afghanistan, Philippines and Malaysia and suspended all flights from the three countries.
The notification will come into effect from Tuesday at 3 pm (IST). The government, in a statement, said the instruction is a temporary measure and shall be in force till 31st March 2020 and will be reviewed subsequently. There are 125 cases of the pandemic in the country as on Tuesday at 9 am.
Afghanistan has reported 22 cases, there are 142 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines and 553 cases in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, Dr Balram Bhargava, director-general of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) told ANI, “We already know that we are in stage 2. We are in not in stage 3, clearly.”