Coronavirus testing protocol to go hand in hand with our healthcare capacity: AIIMS’ Guleria

New Delhi: Even as India faces mounting criticism for its limited testing strategy for Covid-19, AIIMS director Randeep Guleria said that the testing protocol will have to go hand in hand with India’s healthcare capacity, reports Teena Thacker.

“Our healthcare system is already working at a saturation point,” he told ET in an interview. Guleria said the healthcare sector in India will have to “reorganise” itself to deal with Covid-19 in terms of creating more facilities for Covid-19 within the same resources.

“We are working on strategies of creating space so that we can take the increased load of patients if they come. We should also try and prevent a spike in cases to an extent that will cause a major problem on the healthcare system.”

While tests on random samples done by ICMR so far suggests that there is no community transmission yet in India, Guleria said if India goes to the next stage, it will have huge problem in managing patients.

“Given the health resources and the type of infection that we are dealing, if we go on to the next stage as it has happened in other advanced countries, we will have major issues in managing our patients because of the numbers,” he said. Emphasising that people should follow social distancing measures very aggressively to prevent significant community transmission.

Guleria is also the chairman of high level expert committee formed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to review the testing strategy for Covid 19 and said that testing will be increased in a step wise manner.

The committee is looking into widening the testing net by including atypical pneumonia cases, elderly people admitted in the ICU with severe respiratory problems and close contacts of Covid positive cases.

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