Karnataka has crossed 6 crore Covid-19 tests on Saturday which is third highest in the country, said Health and Family Welfare Minister K. Sudhakar.
Congratulating all the healthcare workers and district administrations, he said: "Extensive testing has always been a cornerstone in our fight against pandemic. As much as 29 per cent of the tests between December 1 and January 20 have been conducted on children," he added.
When the pandemic started in early 2020, National Institute of Virology (NIV) units were used to conduct tests. The state used to send samples to NIV centres in Pune. "Karnataka gradually established labs across the state and now we have about 268 testing facilities including 99 government and 169 private labs. Karnataka has tested 6,01,14,815 samples so far, including 1,14,12,162 Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and 4,87,02,653 RT-PCR tests. While 1,41,96,065 samples were tested in 2020, 4,23,91,357 were tested in 2021 and so far 35,27,393 tests have been conducted in 2022," he said.
Addressing the media, Sudhakar said: "Testing plays a vital role in this battle against pandemic. The state has always been aggressive in testing and tracking and it has been one of our cornerstones in this fight against Covid. It has now achieved another milestone by crossing 6 crore tests," he said.
Both Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education departments have always religiously followed the 5T strategy of test, track, trace, triaging and technology. "We have set up 3,678 (3,102 government and 666 private) swab collection centres, which is one each for every 20,000 population. We have labs in government hospitals, medical colleges and also private hospitals. Initially, we had only 10-12 government labs and Covid testing facility which has now been increased to 57. With 108 NA Extractors, 139 RTPCR machines we have capacity to test 1,20,800 samples per day in government facilities," he elaborated.
After the Omicron variant was found, it has been mandated that at least 2 per cent of the tests should be conducted at airports. Then the target was increased to about 80,000 to 1 lakh samples per day.
"Since it was opined that the third wave could predominantly affect children, we have mandated at least 2 per cent of the tests on children. Out of total tests conducted between December 1 and January 20, 29 per cent of the tests are conducted on children. We are also conducting random RAT tests in schools, colleges, restaurants once every 15 days," he said.