With more than nine lakh samples tested for the third consecutive day, the number of tests for detection of COVID-19 has crossed the four-crore mark in India, while the number of such tests per 10 lakh people has also increased to 29,280, the Union health ministry said on Saturday as the total number of coronavirus cases mounted to 34,63,972 in the country.
With the focussed, consistent and coordinated efforts led by the Centre and implemented by the states and Union territories, the country has set a new landmark of testing 4,04,06,609 people for COVID-19 so far, the ministry said.
The number of daily tests has also seen a surge. Already having achieved the testing capacity of 10 lakh per day, 9,28,761 COVID-19 tests were conducted on Friday.
"This has boosted the Tests Per Million (TPM) with a sharp increase to 29,280. As is seen in many states and Union Territories that have increased the testing, the positivity rate will eventually fall with higher levels of testing. The national positivity rate has remained low at 8.57 per cent and is constantly falling," the ministry highlighted.
The number of tests for detection of COVID-19 had crossed the three-crore mark in the country on August 17.
India has come a long way from conducting the first COVID-19 test in January in a laboratory in Pune to crossing the milestone of conducting four crore such tests.
The country is following the strategic approach of "test, track and treat", where testing forms the initial and crucial pillar of COVID-19 response and management.
It is only by aggressive testing that positive cases are identified at an early stage, their close contacts promptly tracked and isolated, and a timely and effective treatment is ensured for those in home isolation or in hospitals, the ministry underlined.
Expanding the network of diagnostic laboratories and facilitating easy testing across the country through several policy measures have given a substantial boost to this upsurge in the national testing rates.
Currently, there are 1,576 laboratories in the country -- 1,002 in the government sector and 574 private ones -- where COVID-19 tests can be performed, the ministry said.
India's COVID-19 tally rose to 34,63,972 with a single-day spike of 76,472 cases, while the death toll due to the disease climbed to 62,550 with 1,021 people succumbing to it in a span of 24 hours, the health ministry's data updated at 8 am showed.
At the same time, the number of recoveries surged to 26,48,998, pushing the recovery rate to 76.47 per cent, according to the data.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine