India to allow NABL-accredited private labs to conduct coronavirus testing; ICMR appeals facilities to offer diagnosis at 'no cost'

New Delhi: There are 72 functional Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) laboratories conducting tests for coronavirus and private NABL-accredited labs will soon be operationalised across the country, ICMR director general Balram Bhargava on Tuesday said.

He also appealed to all private laboratories to offer COVID-19 diagnosis free of cost.

"We have 72 functional ICMR laboratories in government sector for testing and 49 more will be active by the month end," he said.

Bhargava said that India was in stage 2 or local transmission of the virus.  "All asymptomatic patients who have taken international flights in the past 14 days should get tested as per current protocol if they develop symptoms," he said.

He also said that symptomatic people who come in close contact with laboratory-confirmed coronavirus cases must be tested, adding and all healthcare workers managing respiratory condition of patients should be tested too if symptomatic.

"Private NABL accredited laboratories will soon be operationalised," Bhargava said.

ICMR was approached by several private players who want to contribute and talks are on with 51 National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited private laboratories.

Updated Date: Mar 17, 2020 19:26:07 IST



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