After facing criticism for low testing figures and delayed import of COVID-19 testing kits, the Centre on Monday clarified that it has enough stock of testing kits to take care of the country’s requirement for the next six weeks.
Speaking at the daily press conference, Indian Council of Medical Research’s (ICMR) Dr Raman Gangakhedkar said, “No need to be scared, we can test for the next six weeks with the stock we have”.
The ICMR also announced that 14 institutions of eminence have been identified which will mentor medical colleges in their allotted area and facilitate setting up of COVID-19 testing facilities, as part of the government’s plan to urgently scale up India’s coronavirus testing capacity. Institutions identified include AIIMS and NIMHANS.
Additionally, a core strategy group set up in CSIR will also work on providing economical and rapid diagnostics.
The statement comes days after the Health Ministry admitted that rapid testing kits ordered from Chinese suppliers had still not reached India. India ordered 500,000 kits from Chinese suppliers on March 30. However, the kits have not yet been delivered.
The ICMR and the Health Ministry had assured that the kits will be arriving soon. “The kits haven’t reached yet but could reach anytime now,” Union Health Ministry’s joint secretary Lav Agarwal had said on April 10.