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The number of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients jumped to 1383 and fatalities to 50 in the last 24 hours, pushing India’s tally to 19,984, Union health ministry data showed on Wednesday morning.

India, which had breached the 10,000-mark on April 14, now has 15,474 active cases and the number of people who have been cured stands at 3869. There have been 640 Covid-19 related fatalities in the country till 8am on Wednesday, according to the health ministry’s dashboard.

 

Maharashtra reported 6191 cases of the coronavirus disease, including 722 discharges and 251 deaths. Gujarat has now become the second-worst hit state with 2178 active cases and Delhi follows with 2156 infections.

Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Tuesday asked states to suspend rapid testing for the disease for the next two days, following complaints from West Bengal and Rajasthan that the exported antibody testing kits were returning erroneous results.

ICMR’s top scientist Dr Rman Gangakhedkar said eight ICMR institutes will carry out field tests using the rapid testing kits in different states for validation purposes in the next two days and to find out if certain batches of the kits are faulty, following which feedback will be provided to states and the general public.

“We received a complaint from one state yesterday that rapid kits were leading to lesser detections, so we took feedback from three states today,” said Dr Gangakhedkar during the daily briefing on Tuesday.

“We are learning that the positive samples of RT-PCR are showing too much variation (when tested by rapid kits) in the range of 6 to 71%,” he added, referring to the percentage of successful detection made by the rapid testing kits in positive cases.

 

West Bengal was among the first state to complain about poor accuracy of the rapid testing kits distributed to states through ICMR network. Rajasthan, too, on Tuesday decided to suspend testing after complaining of a high rate of inaccuracy.

The ICMR expert said the rapid test kits were tested in Delhi before they were sent out to states and had shown 71% accuracy. He added that its accuracy percentage was growing with the passage of time as Covid-19 antibodies taken seven days to build.

 

According to the Covid-19 dashboard of Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE), the number of confirmed cases stood at 2,564,038 and there were 177,424 fatalities across the world at around 8am India time.