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Union Health Ministry has written a letter to States and Union Territories advising them to maintain strict vigil and continue to make all possible efforts to minimize the damage due to spread of COVID-19.

The letter, jointly written by Health Secretary Preeti Sudan and DG, ICMR, Dr. Balram Bhargava, stated that focus should  continue to be on saving lives and also protecting livelihood with the beginning of the second phase of nationwide Unlock.
 
The letter highlighted that since testing, tracking and treating is the key strategy for early detection and containment of the pandemic, it is important to augment testing of SARS-CoV-2 in all parts of the country. It said, this is the only way to detect the infection early and prevent its spread. 

To ramp up testing in the country, ICMR has so far approved a total of 1 thousand 49 public and private laboratories for COVID-19 testing . Of them, 761 labs are in public sector and 288 are in private sector.
 
The States have been requested to remove the impediments which restrict testing. They have been asked to work in a campaign mode to further facilitate testing by setting up camps and using mobile vans in high incidence areas. Health Ministry has said, the rates for RT-PCR tests done by private labs should be finalized and the testing data by them should be forwarded to ICMR and State authorities for surveillance and contact tracing.




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