The Union Health Ministry on September 10 asked all states and Union Territories (UTs) to mandatorily retest all symptomatic negative cases of rapid antigen tests (RAT) through RT-PCR to make sure no COVID-19 positive patient is missed.
The ministry urged states and UTs to urgently establish a monitoring mechanism through a designated officer or a team in every district and at the state level for following up on such cases.
These teams would analyse details of RATs conducted on a daily basis and ensure that there is no delay in retesting of those who tested negative, but were symptomatic.
The ministry said it has noted that in some large states, symptomatic cases tested negative by RAT were not being followed up by RT-PCR testing.
Guidelines issued by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) as well as the Health Ministry had stated that all symptomatic negative cases of RAT and asymptomatic cases of RAT that develop symptoms within two-three days of being tested negative must mandatorily retested through RT-PCR tests.
The ministry said it was “necessary to ensure that such symptomatic negative cases do not remain untested and do not spread the disease among their contacts”. It also said that doing so would ensure early detection, isolation and hospitalisation of such “false” negative cases.
While RAT is being used to increase access and availability of testing in the field, the ministry reiterated that RT-PCR remains the gold standard of COVID-19 tests.
On September 10, India reported a record single-day spike of 95,735 COVID-19 cases. This took the country’s overall tally to 44.6 lakh cases, which includes over 75,000 fatalities, 34.7 lakh recoveries.
According to ICMR, 11.2 samples were tested for COVID-19 on September 9. Over 5.2 crore samples have been tested in the country so far. MoneyControl