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Tuesday, November 24, 2020

1 million Covid-19 tests later: India at bottom in terms of positive cases

While critics have pointed out that the testing figures don’t seem very impressive vis-a-vis India’s estimated 130 crore population, the government has maintained that a little less than half the districts in the country remain free of COVID-19.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: May 3, 2020 6:08:31 pm
coronavirus, coronavirus india, coronavirus india testing, covid-19 tests, india coronavirus cases, india news, indian express On Saturday, India conducted 1,043,000 tests in total till about 9 pm. In the last one month, daily testing has been ramped up, touching about 75,000 samples on May 1. (Representational/Express photo: Prashant Nadkar)

In comparison with five other countries that conducted at least 10 lakh Covid-19 tests, India has the least number of positive cases while Spain had recorded the highest, according to the Press Information Bureau.

Data sourced from three databases was used to compare case figures in six countries — India, USA, Germany, Spain, Turkey, Italy — when testing crossed the million mark.

However, it must be noted that the testing criteria differs from country to country and it is unclear whether the total number of tests include retests on the same patients. While India had largely limited its testing initially to foreign travellers and their contacts and health workers who are symptomatic, it eventually included all those with flu-like symptoms, regardless of travel or contact history, in the hotspots. Also, head-to-head comparison of countries is difficult owing to a variety of variables at play. For example, Spain and Italy had begun testing on a large-scale much ahead of others. And countries like the US did not enforce a stricter lockdown like India.

Coronavirus numbers explained: Despite lockdown, new cases and deaths rise

On Saturday, India conducted 1,043,000 tests in total till about 9 pm. In the last one month, daily testing has been ramped up, touching about 75,000 samples on May 1.

Testing has also been increased as manpower was diverted from other programmes, and equipped laboratories in the government sector, and later in the private sector too, were roped in to conduct tests. Currently, there are 419 laboratories, including about 100 in the private sector, which conduct the tests – there were just about 20-30 in March.

A comparison of the current daily testing figures around the world shows that it is about 1,50,000 in the US, 1,20,000 in the UK (which just started mass testing), 50,000 in Germany and 15,000 in South Korea.

While critics have pointed out that the testing figures don’t seem very impressive vis-a-vis India’s estimated 130 crore population, the government has maintained that a little less than half the districts in the country remain free of COVID-19.

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