The Union Health Ministry on Thursday directed all states and union territories to mandatorily re-test all symptomatic coronavirus negative cases of rapid antigen tests through RT-PCR test.
The notice comes at a time when India’s COVID-19 tally increased to 44,65,864 after 95,735 new cases and 1,172 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.
“Union Health Ministry has noted that in some large States, symptomatic negative cases tested by Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) are not being followed up by RT-PCT testing,” the ministry said in a statement.
“In this background, the Union Health Ministry and ICMR have jointly written to all the States/UTs and urged them to ensure that the all symptomatic negative cases of RAT are mandatorily retested using the RT-PCR test. This is necessary to ensure that such symptomatic negative cases do not remain untested and do not spread the disease among their contacts,” it added.
The ministry also said that the exercise will also ensure early detection, isolation and hospitalization of such false negatives
The states and union territories have also been asked to urgently establish a monitoring mechanism via a designated officer or team in every district and at the state level so as to follow up on such cases.
“These teams shall analyse details of RAT conducted on a daily basis in the Districts and State and ensure that there are no delays in retesting of all symptomatic negative cases,” the ministry said.
“The aim of States/UTs should be to ensure that no potentially positive case is missed out. They have also been advised to undertake an analysis on a regular basis to monitor the incidence of positives during the RT-PCR tests conducted as a follow-up,” it added.
The guidelines of both health ministry and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) state that all symptomatic (with fever, cough or breathlessness) negative cases of rapid antigen tests, as well as asymptomatic cases that develop symptoms within two to three days of being tested negative, should be retested through RT-PCR tests