Sigh of relief for India: ICMR random tests show no community spread of Coronavirus in India

Perhaps a sigh of relief for India when coronavirus continues its devastation across the world, the first batch of results for tests done by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in March to check for community transmission of coronavirus are negative.

The director-general of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Balram Bhargava, said on Tuesday that the country’s apex health research body had not discovered any evidence of community transmission of Covid-19 yet and that all 500 random samples had tested negative for coronavirus.

“We at ICMR are regularly monitoring for community transmissions. Our labs are looking at random samples of patients who suffer from influenza-like illnesses/ severe acute,” he said. ICMR had collected 1020 random samples nationally between March 1 and 15. The results of the remaining 520 samples will be available Wednesday, March 18.

Bhargava further said that ICMR has activated more laboratories to test for COVID-19 and revised the testing criteria.

The ICMR had picked 1,020 random samples of people with severe acute respiratory illness pneumonia and influenza-like symptoms for testing for Covid-19. The results of 500 samples are negative, a sign that community-level transmission of the coronavirus may not be taking place in India still. The results of the remaining 520 samples will be available by Wednesday.