The Uttar Pradesh government is trying to get the Indian Council of Medical Research's (ICMR) approval for four institutes in the state to conduct novel coronavirus tests, state Health Minister Jai Pratap Singh said on Thursday.
As of now, only the King George Medical University (KGMU) in Lucknow has the approval for testing Covid-19 cases, the minister said during a visit to Gautam Buddh Nagar.
"We are working on a war footing to deal with the situation arising out of the coronavirus outbreak. We have a virology lab in Gorakhpur, and facilities in Aligarh, Banaras Hindu University and PGI (Lucknow)... We are trying to procure machine and get accreditation from the ICMR for carrying out tests at these places," the minister told reporters.
Samples from Gautam Buddh Nagar and some other places in western Uttar Pradesh go to the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) in Delhi for testing, he said.
"We have 17 cases so far (in UP) including four in Noida, two in Lucknow and rest in Agra. The entire country is dealing with it at its level but on our part we started working from January 27 itself after alerts from the Centre," Singh said.
"We have 19 border points along the India-Nepal border and screening began at all points in January only with thermal analysers. We have screened over 18,000 people at our airports and are following central government's protocols as and when issued," he added.
According to the Union health ministry data, the number of novel coronavirus cases in the country rose to 173 on Thursday, which includes four deaths reported from Punjab, Delhi, Karnataka and Maharashtra. Uttar Pradesh has recorded Covid-19 cases, which includes one foreigner.
Earlier in the day, the state health minister inspected a 300-bedded quarantine facility at a hostel in Gautam Buddh Nagar University in Greater Noida.
That aside, there is a 200-bed quarantine centre at the newly-constructed district hospital in Noida Sector 39 to house any person needing quarantine facility, local officials said.
So far, four people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Noida. Three of them are Noida residents, while one lives in Delhi, the officials said.