A senior official of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Wednesday told the TOI that 820 random samples collected for analysis had tested negative for coronavirus disease and there was no evidence to indicate any community transmission as of now.
Speaking to TOI, a senior official and scientist at ICMR told "All 820 randomly collected samples have tested negative and do not indicate any community transmission. However, we will ram up our sample numbers and continue to do survelliance to check if there is any further spread."
The ICMR is, however, not ruling out community transmission. The official added that 'these samples have tested negative is reassuring that at the moment there is no evidence to indicate community outbreak". Earlier, ICMR said that around 1,040 samples were collected from coronavirus-infected patients admitted in ICUs at various hospitals.
Meanwhile, the government and the ICMR have opened the testing of coronavirus (Covid-19) cases to private sector diagnostic laboratories to improve the process of thermal screening across the country.Around 50-60 private labs accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Laboratories can now test for Covid-19. Until recently, only government-owned labs were allowed to carry out tests for the infection. Get full coverage of coronavirus update here
Experts at the ICMR said there were four states of the coronavirus disease. Stage 1 is when the virus transmission is imported and not a domestic case, stage 2 is a locally transmitted case when a section of people test positive after having come in contact with a coronavirus-poistive patient. Stage 3 is comunity tramssion and Stage 4 is when it turns into an epidemic. India, as of now, is at stage 3. After results indicated that that there was no proof of community transmission, Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra took to Twitter to write: I was waiting for the results of these sample tests.
A big relief that stage 3 community transmission hasn’t happened yet. The battle for containment gets a shot in the arm but it’s a battle that must continue & fought even more forcefully
I was waiting for the results of these sample tests. A big relief that stage 3 community transmission hasn’t happened yet. The battle for containment gets a shot in the arm but it’s a battle that must continue & fought even more forcefully... https://t.co/lpEFgmgwQi— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) March 19, 2020
People testing positive for coronavirus infection can be tested for free in government laboratories. The government bears this expense which ranges to around Rs 6,000 - Rs 1,500 for screening and Rs 4,500 for re-confirmation. However, patients testing in a private lab will have to shell more money. According to Times of India, testing at private labs may cost between Rs 9,000 and Rs 12,000.
In India, 169 coronavirus infection cases have been detected, with 46 cases in Maharashtra.