Coronavirus testing COVID-19 pandemic ~ A complete guide protecting yourself, your family and your community.
On 11th March 2020, the WHO officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic as it is spread over 110 countries. Cases have been confirmed on every continent except Antarctica mainly through International travel.
Emerging from Wuhan (Hubei province of China) on 31 Dec 2019, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has now spread to more than 135,437,952 people across 221 countries and territories around the world with 2,931,588 people dead.
As per the WHO, South America (to be specific Brazil) has become the new epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. The other epicenters around the world are Italy, Mumbai, and Africa that has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.
Can Lockdown contain the coronavirus?
The US President Mr Trump declared national emergency and America went into shut down mode. Here in India, the government has announced a 21-day lockdown period.
In this emergency protocol, all schools, colleges, universities, gyms, night clubs, spas, swimming pools, shopping complexes, malls, museums and ASI-protected monuments including Taj Mahal announced a complete shutdown.
Recently, the Government has extended the ban on entry of both Indian and International passengers from the United Kingdom, Turkey and the whole European Union till the end of March.
For the unaware, India had last week announced a mandatory quarantine for all the passengers coming from China, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Iran, Nepal for a minimum period of 14 days.
Coronavirus Testing Myths Debunked:
With reference to coronavirus, lots of rumors are being circulated on social media. One of them is a simple self-check test. If the person can hold breath without coughing and discomfort for more than 10 seconds then the person doesn’t have the virus.
Stanford University reported it as a piece of inaccurate information. Similarly, gurgling water and salt do not prevent the coronavirus outbreak. Eating garlic and drinking alcohol DOES NOT prevent COVID 19.
Even people with the COVID-19 infection but no symptoms can spread the disease.
Who gets tested for coronavirus?
As of today, there has been a sharp increase in positive coronavirus cases in India – which now stands at 13,205,926 with 168,467 deaths. The Union government is following the Italian model of lockdown instead of the South Korean model of free testing.
As per the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Govt of India, the following people need to be tested for coronavirus.
ALL symptomatic people who
- Have a history of international travel in the last 14 days
- Had come in contact with confirmed cases
- Are healthcare workers
- Are hospitalized patients with Severe Acute Respiratory Illness (SARI) or Influenza-Like Illness (ILI) or severe pneumonia.
Asymptomatic direct and high-risk contacts of confirmed cases should be tested once between day 5 and day 14 of coming in his/her contact.
Direct and high-risk contact include:
- Those living in the same household with a confirmed case
- Healthcare workers who examined a confirmed case without adequate protection as per WHO recommendations
The symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath (difficulty breathing). Some patients also have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These signs may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
The coronavirus seems to start with a fever, followed by a dry cough and then, after a week, leads to shortness of breath and some patients needing hospital treatment.
If you believe that you are infected then get in touch with the designated local health official/district CMO/DSO or 24×7 control room.
Advice for People who Think they may Have Coronavirus:
Coronavirus test doesn’t change anything. The truth is the coronavirus COVID-19 test doesn’t change anything. Diagnosis helps in early identification of the disease and containment of the disease. Even without it, we all can make a difference.
Step 1: Don’t panic and turn up at the COVID-19 testing centres! Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
Step 2: If you have a new continuous cough or high-temperature, you should self-isolate for 7 days. This itself makes a difference. I guess your employer don’t need a fitness or medical certificate for sure.
Stay at least 3 steps away from other people in your home if possible. If possible stay in a separate room at home with an attached/separate toilet.
Step 3: Anyone living with someone, who has symptoms should stay at home quarantine for 14 days and regularly check for symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty in breathing).
Step 4: If your symptoms get worsen or no better, seek medical advice by calling Central Helpline Number (+91-11-23978046) or Helpline Numbers of respective states & union territories (UTs). For example, Telangana has 104 as the helpline number.
Step 5: The health officials will isolate and closely monitor your health and accordingly the doctor approves the request for coronavirus testing.
In a big country like India, there is a lot of red-tapism in the form of delays and excessive paperwork. This is more common in government establishments.
But still, the apex body (Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR) has allowed only government laboratories for conducting COVID-19 tests across India. An important update: private labs get go-ahead for COVID-19 testing.
The positive aspect of this decision is to avoid indiscriminate testing and reducing panic and optimally utilize the resources of the nation. As per the reliable sources, each screening assay costs Rs 4500. However, all individuals required to be tested are being offered at free-of-cost.
Do you think the private laboratories will offer such free service?
How can I get the Coronavirus test done in India?
The National Institute of Virology (NIV Pune) scientists are working round-the-clock in the fight against deadly coronavirus (COVID-19). As of now, the government has allowed a network of 2449 laboratories in 27 states and union territories for testing samples of suspected patients across the country.
Most of these 2449 laboratories (1413 are Real-Time RT PCR, 900 are TrueNat Test centres, and 132 in CBNAAT Test category) in ICMR system are meant for testing of suspected coronavirus cases at the preliminary level.
These include DBT, DRDO, CSIR and government medical colleges. As per the Union Health Ministry, the NIV Pune along with 12 other facilities will conduct the confirmatory assay to reconfirm positive cases.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the diagnosis of COVID-19 must be confirmed by a gene-based assay called Reverse -Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR). It takes 24-72 hours to get the results of a coronavirus test.
Does India have enough Coronavirus testing?
To date (09 April 2021), a total of 255,214,803 individual samples have been tested. Out of them, 13,205,926 persons have been confirmed COVID-19 positive among suspected cases and contacts of known positive cases along with 168,467 deceased persons.
The availability of SARS-CoV2 test(causative agent for COVID – 19) has been a big issue not just in India but also worldwide. Only a few are approved by the WHO to develop, produce and process tests.
As there is a sharp increase in the number of suspected cases, the demand for COVID-19 tests soared like anything. The Chinese billionaire Jack Ma (Alibaba co-founder) is sending 500,000 coronavirus testing kits and one million surgical masks to the US.
If this is the testing situation in the US, one can imagine the plight of people in other countries. Nevertheless, it is going to be a huge challenge to any government with the quantum of the population we have.
Of course, there seem to be bureaucratic, scientific, and economic drivers for the debacle. Hopefully, measures taken by the government reduce the casualties.
What needs to happen next?
As more tests become available, it will be possible to test more people. Until then the foreign returned individuals should be caveat and self-quarantined, till they tested negative for COVID-19. This would reduce the widespread and the burden on healthcare professionals.
Apart from testing just foreign returned personnel and sick people coming into the hospital, the government should start a public health surveillance network to find any undetected virus circulating through the nation.
Accurate coronavirus testing is critical to stopping an outbreak. Again, without testing, we are in the dark. And while we are in the dark, the virus can spread.
Social distancing is the need of the hour. The citizens need to be at home and go out only for vital needs and services. As with all outbreaks, this coronavirus pandemic will end. In the meantime, people should try to minimize their risk of exposure.
How to Protect yourself & Prevent the Spread of Coronavirus?
How to Stick Together, by Staying Apart?
- Stay at Home: No unnecessary journeys or social contact
- Only leave home for essential shopping or medical needs
- Exercise once a day
- Public gatherings of more than 2 people are banned – excluding people you live with
- Police may be able to find you if you don’t follow the rules
PSA Safe Grocery Shopping in COVID-19 Pandemic
Michigan doctor Jeffrey VanWingen posted a very informative video on how to safely bring groceries and fast food into your home. This simple 13-minute video demonstrates surgical sterilization technique in the midst of coronavirus pandemic.
In fact, it’s a responsible post and helps us to be proactive above and beyond keeping our own family safe. Let’s be methodical and be safe and not take any chances.
How to Manage Mental Health (Well-being) During the COVID-19 Outbreak (Lockdown)
- Start your daily routine as usual
- Stay positive
- Engage in activities of your choice
- Minimize watching the news on COVID-19
- Play indoor games – chessboard, snake and ladder game
- Painting, reading books, listen to music, watch movies
- Keep yourself physically active, socially active, and mentally active
- Walk around the house
- Do meditation, yoga, exercise etc,
- Sleep well & eat well
Only time will tell if it disappears from the human population, as SARS did in 2004, or becomes a seasonal disease like flu.
Coronavirus COVID-19 Testing Sites – LIST OF VRDLs
|1. Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences, Tirupati|
|2. Rangaraya Medical College, Kakinada|
|3. Siddhartha Medical College, Vijayawada|
|4. Govt. Medical College, Ananthpur|
|5. * Guntur Medical College *|
|Andaman & Nicobar Islands|
|Regional Medical Research Centre, Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar|
|1. Gauhati Medical College, Guwahati|
|2. Regional Medical Research Center, Dibrugarh|
|3. Silchar Medical College, Silchar|
|4. Jorhat Medical College, Jorhat|
|5. * Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College, Barpeta *|
|1. Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna|
|2. * Darbhanga Medical College, Darbhanga *|
|3. * Indira Gandhi Institute Medical Sciences, Patna *|
|4. * Patna Medical College, Patna *|
|1. Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh|
|2. Govt. Medical College, Chandigarh|
|1. All India Institute Medical Sciences, Raipur|
|2. Late Sri Baliram Kashyap Memorial Govt. Medical College, Jagdalpur|
|1. All India Institute Medical Sciences, Delhi|
|2. National Centre of Disease Control, New Delhi|
|3. Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi|
|4. Army Hospital (Research & Referral), New Delhi|
|5. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital|
|6. Institute of Liver & Biliary Sciences|
|7. * Maulana Azad Medical College *|
Coronavirus Testing Sites
|1. BJ Medical College, Ahmedabad|
|2. M.P. Shah Government Medical College, Jamnagar|
|3. Govt. Medical College, Bhavnagar|
|4. Govt. Medical College, Surat|
|5. * Govt. Medical College, Vadodra *|
|1. Pt. B.D. Sharma Post Graduate Inst. of Med. Sciences, Rohtak, Haryana|
|2. BPS Govt Medical College, Sonipat|
|1. Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh|
|2. Dr. Rajendra Prasad Govt. Med. College, Kangra, Tanda, HP|
|Jammu & Kashmir|
|1. Sher-e- Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Srinagar|
|2. Government Medical College, Jammu|
|3. Government Medical College, Srinagar|
|4. Command Hospital (NC), Udhampur|
|1. MGM Medical College, Jamshedpur|
|2. * Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi *|
|1. Hassan Inst. of Med. Sciences, Hassan, Karnataka|
|2. Mysore Medical College & Research Institute, Mysore|
|3. Shimoga Inst. of Med. Sciences, Shivamogga, Karnataka|
|4. Bangalore Medical College & Research Institute, Bangalore|
|5. National Institute of Virology, Bangalore Field Unit, Bengaluru|
|6. Gulbarga Institute of Medical Sciences, Gulbarga|
|7. Command Hospital (Air Force) Bengaluru|
Coronavirus Testing (COVID-19) Sites:
|1. National Institute of Virology Field Unit, Allapuzzha|
|2. Govt. Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala|
|3. Govt. Medical College, Kozhikode, Kerala|
|4. Govt. Medical College, Thrissur|
|5. Rajiv Gandhi Center for Biotechnology, Thiruvananthapuram|
|6. Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences, Thiruvananthapuram|
|7. * State Public Health Laboratory, Trivandrum *|
|8. * Interuniversity, Kottayam *|
|9. * Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram *|
|10. * Malabar Cancer Center, Thalassery *|
|1. All India Institute Medical Sciences, Bhopal|
|2. National Institute of Research in Tribal Health (NIRTH), Jabalpur|
|3. Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Medical College, Indore|
|4. Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal|
|5. * Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Centre *|
|North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), Shillong, Meghalaya|
|1. National Institute of Virology, Pune|
|2. Kasturba Hospital for Infectious Diseases, Mumbai|
|3. Indira Gandhi Government Medical College, Nagpur|
|4. National Institute of Virology Field Unit, Mumbai|
|5. Armed Forces Medical College, Pune|
|6. Seth GS Medical College & KEM Hospital, Mumbai|
|7. BJ Medical College, Pune|
|8. * Grant Medical College & Sir JJ Hospital, Mumbai *|
|1. Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Med. Sciences, Imphal-East, Manipur|
|2. Regional Institute of Medical Sciences, Imphal|
Covid-19 Testing Centers
|1. Regional Medical Research Center, Bhubaneswar|
|2. * All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhubaneshwar *|
|Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education & Research, Puducherry|
|1. Government Medical College, Patiala|
|2. Government Medical College, Amritsar|
|1. Sawai Man Singh Medical College, Jaipur|
|2. Dr. Sampurnanand Medical College, Jodhpur|
|3. Jhalawar Medical College, Jhalawar, Rajasthan|
|4. RNT Medical College, Udaipur|
|5. SP Medical College, Bikaner, Rajasthan|
|6. All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Jodhpur|
|7. JLN Medical College, Ajmer|
|8. Govt. Medical College, Kota|
|1. King’s Institute of Preventive Medicine & Research, Chennai|
|2. Government Theni Medical College, Theni|
|3. Tirunelveli Medical College, Tirunelveli|
|4. Govt. Medical College, Thiruvarur|
|5. Madras Medical College, Chennai|
|6. Coimbatore Medical College, Coimbatore|
|7. Kumar Mangalam Govt. Medical College, Salem|
|8. * Govt. Medical College, Villupuram *|
|9. * Govt. Medical College, Trichy *|
|Government Medical College, Agartala|
|1. Gandhi Medical College, Secunderabad|
|2. Osmania Medical College, Hyderabad|
|3. * Nizamâ€™s Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad *|
|4. * Sir Ronald Ross of Tropical & Communicable Diseases, Hyderabad *|
|5. * Institute of Preventive Medicine, Hyderabad *|
Coivd-19 Testing Labs
|1. King George Medical University, Lucknow|
|2. Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi|
|3. Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College, Aligarh|
|4. Command Hospital, Lucknow|
|5. Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Medical College, Meerut|
|6. Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute, Lucknow|
|7. * Uttar Pradesh RIMS, Saifai *|
|8. * Regional Medical Research Centre, Gorakhpur *|
|1. Government Medical College, Haldwani|
|2. * All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh *|
|1. National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases, Kolkata|
|2. Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education & Research (IPGMER), Kolkata|
|3. Midnapore Medical College, Midnapore|
|4. * School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata *|