File image of union health minister Harsh Vardhan. Image credit: The Hindu
File image of Union health minister Harsh Vardhan.

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Monday held a meeting with senior officials of ICMR, Department of Science & Technology, Biotechnology and CSIR.

In the meeting, he reviewed the sampling and testing strategy for COVID-19 and held an elaborate discussion on the issues like procurement of reagents, website integration, data management and analysis, dashboards, research studies both planned and done so far etc.

The minister informed that he had a discussion in the morning with health ministers of the states/UTs about the actions being taken by the union health ministry, reviewed the status of preparedness of states/UTs and assured them with all possible support.

He also lauded the states for active surveillance, effective contact tracing and their preparedness for containment and management of COVID-19.

During the meeting, it was informed by DG, ICMR that 129 government laboratories are functional with a testing capacity of 13000 tests per day along with 49 NABL accredited private lab.

The private chains have around 16000 collection centres.

It was also informed that adequate test kits have been procured and disseminated across the States for any further eventualities.

He was also informed that Rapid Antibody test kits are also ordered.

As of now, 38,442 tests have been done with 1,334 tests in private labs across the country.

He further directed that all efforts should be made to ensure that quality of the testing kits procured by the government or by the private labs is not compromised and quality assessment of the kits shall be done regularly.

He also directed that for this a clear quality control mechanism and protocol needs to be developed and implemented by ICMR immediately so that the quality is assured on a daily basis by all the laboratories.

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