ICMR Expanded Covid-19 Testing Facilities After Home Minister Amit Shah’s Intervention: Report

ICMR Expanded Covid-19 Testing Facilities After Home Minister Amit Shah’s Intervention: ReportAmit Shah addressing party workers in West Bengal (Photo by Milind Shelte/India Today Group/Getty Images)

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had expanded the number of laboratories that could conduct COVID-19 tests only after an intervention made by Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah, reports The Hindu.

As of 30 January, when the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in India had come to light, all the samples were sent only to the National Institute of Virology (NIV) which is located in Pune.

Following ICMR's inability to enable more testing facilities, Shah is said to have asked the ICMR to either include more facilities or else the responsibility to conduct the testing would be accorded to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

The instructions were reportedly given by the HM in a meeting held in March which was attended by the Director-General of the ICMR, Dr Balram Bhargava. As an outcome of the same, by 17 March, the number of laboratories with the capability to test samples for Covid-19 had shot up to 72.

Following this, on 23 March, the ICMR had also issued guidelines allowing private laboratories to test for Covid-19.

Meanwhile, it should be noted that as of now, the number of laboratories with the capability to conduct testing for Covid-19 has shot up to 220 as reported by Times of India. The Government aims to elevate the same to 300 by the end of April.