The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has asked all States and Union Territories "to immediately increase testing in a strategic manner keeping in view the trend of case positivity in specific areas".
In a letter, Additional Secretary (Health) Arti Ahuja said that the data available on the Indian Council Of Medical Research (ICMR) portal shows a decline in the COVID tests in many States and Union Territories amid rising cases due to Omicron which has been declared as the Variant of Concern (VoC) by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Listing the basic objective of COVID testing as early detection of cases for quick isolation and care, and additionally it being a key strategy for pandemic management, Ahuja said, "Identification of new clusters and new hotspots of infections which can, in turn, facilitate immediate action for containment such as setting up of containment zones, contact tracing, quarantining, isolation and follow up. This can enable the State and district administration to curb the spread of infection."
She stressed that testing was key to stopping the progression of the disease to the severe category.
"Progression of disease to a severe category can be averted by strategic testing of those who are at high risk and more vulnerable, as well as in areas where the spread is likely to be higher," she added.
Further, the letter mentioned that all those who are symptomatic, and the at-risk contacts of laboratory-confirmed cases must be tested.
"...pay immediate attention and increase the testing in a strategic manner keeping in view the trend of case positivity in specific geographies within your States/UTs," the letter read.