India Coronavirus Cases: Uttar Pradesh, on Monday, became the first state to test more than one lakh samples a day for novel Coronavirus infection. In the process, it also overtook Maharashtra in terms of the total number of samples tested so far.
Uttar Pradesh has tested 19.41 lakh samples till now, while Maharashtra has tested 19.25 lakh. Tamil Nadu still leads the testing figures by a comfortable margin, having tested more than 24.14 lakh samples till now.
The actual number of people who have been tested would be lower than these numbers because many people are tested multiple times. During the early days of the epidemic, everyone was being tested before being discharged as well. In Tamil Nadu, for example, 23.24 lakh persons have been tested so far. Most of the states provide information only about the total number of samples tested, and not the number of people.
The enhanced testing in Uttar Pradesh has been made possible by the widespread deployment of the rapid antigen testing in the last one month. These antigen tests, which provide results within half an hour, account for almost half the daily tests in Uttar Pradesh. While it was using the standard RT-PCR tests, considered to be the most robust at detecting the presence of the virus, Uttar Pradesh was lagging far behind, compared to Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, two states which have led the testing numbers right from the start because they have the widest network of accredited laboratories in the country. In fact, at the start of June, Uttar Pradesh had conducted barely half the number of tests compared to these two states.
Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra have also begun deploying the antigen tests, and thus are now able to test far greater numbers everyday compared to about a month earlier.
For the country as a whole, the testing numbers have increased to more than five lakh every day. At the start of the epidemic, barely a few hundred tests could be carried out every day, because very few laboratories were accredited to do so, and there was a shortage of testing kits as well. But those bottlenecks have now been removed, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the country would soon be testing more than 10 lakh samples a day. He was speaking at an inauguration event of three big testing facilities, one each in Mumbai, Kolkata and Noida.
So far, more than one crore 73 lakh tests have been carried out in the country.
The increased testing has led to the detection of far greater number of infected people, not just the absolute numbers, which has now reached close to 1.5 million, but also proportionately. The positivity rate, or the proportion of people who turn out to be positive out of those who are tested, has been increasing steadily, from about 3.75 per cent at the start of May to 8.56 per cent now. It means that less than four people, out of every 100 tested, were being found to be infected with the disease at the start of May, and now this number is more than eight. The positivity rates differ widely in different cities and states, from about three per cent in some places, to more than 20 to 25 per cent in others.
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Top ten states with maximum caseload
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Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka also breached a one-lakh figure mark on Monday, but this was related to their total caseloads. Andhra Pradesh detected just over 6,000 new cases on Monday, a significant drop from the levels of 8,000 that it was reporting for the last few days, while Karnataka found another 5,300 infections. Both the states now have more than one lakh people who have been infected with the virus at some stage.
The number of daily new cases fell at the national level as well. Just over 47,700 fresh cases were detected across the country, taking the total number of people infected so far to 14.83 lakh. That means almost half a million cases have been added in the country in less than 12 days. The number of those having recovered from the disease is approaching one million now, while over 33,400 people have so far died.
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