Coronavirus in India: 1 lakh COVID-19 testing kits available, more ordered, says Health Ministry

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Coronavirus in India: The Union Ministry of Health has informed that there are adequate COVID-19 testing facilitates and testing kits across the country. Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry was quoted by agencies as saying that there are around 1 lakh coronavirus testing kits available, while additional testing kits have already been ordered and they are also in procurement. Informing about the health facilities to counter coronavirus, Aggarwal said that 52 testing facilities are located across the country and there are a total of 56 sample collection centers.

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About the rise in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country, the Joint Secretary of Union Health Department said that out of the 73 positive cases reported in India so far, 56 are Indians and 17 are foreigners. He added that as of Thursday, the Government of India has evacuated 900 Indian citizens from coronavirus-affected countries. Apart from this, 48 people belonging to other countries like Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, China, US, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, South Africa, and Peru, too have been evacuated.

Regarding some reports that there was a shortage of protective masks in some parts of the country, the Joint Secretary of Union Health Department said that a mask is not always necessary if a person maintains effective social distance. There is no need to panic, he reiterated. Though flu is not common in summer, no study or evidence is available to suggest that high temperature kills coronavirus, the Health Ministry officials told PTI.

Talking about the total number of confirmed coronavirus patients in the country at present, Aggarwal said that luckily for India we do not have any community transmission. We have only a few cases that have come from outside and they have primarily affected their close family members, he summed up.

Officials also informed that visa-free travel facility granted to Overseas Citizen Of India (OCI) cardholders has been kept in abeyance till April 15, 2020, due to the ongoing coronavirus situation in the country. Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary of the Union Health Ministry, was quoted by ANI as saying that this order will come into effect from 1200 hours GMT on March 13, 2020, at the port of departure.

A sharp rise was recorded in the number of coronavirus cases in the country with the numbers shooting up to 73 on Thursday. As per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, 17 of these 73 are foreign nationals - 14 of whom are in Haryana, 2 in Rajasthan and 1 in Uttar Pradesh. Among Indians, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh recorded a sharp rise today with the total number of positive cases rising to 11 and 10 respectively in these two states. Kerala still has the most number of coronavirus positive cases in the country with 17 in total, while Delhi has 6 patients, Karnataka has 4, Union Territory of Ladakh has 3, and Rajasthan, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, and Punjab have one each confirmed cases of coronavirus.