New Delhi: Amid a scare over a third wave and an uptick in cases, the Centre on Friday wrote a letter to the states directing them to test all cases of fever, headache, sore throat, breathlessness, body ache, loss of taste or smell, fatigue and diarrhea.
"A rise in Covid-19 cases accompanied by an increase in positivity rate is being documented in various parts of the country. Early testing of suspect patients and their contacts and isolating them expeditiously are one of the key measures to curb transmission of SARS-CoV-2," the letter said.
The states were also directed to ramp up testing as RT-PCR results may take time due to huge pressure. In such cases, the governments should increase rapid antigen testing and encourage people to use self-testing kits that have been approved by the government.
"Multiple RAT booths must be set up in identified geographies and operationalised on a 24X7 basis to offer widespread testing and easier access to all citizens," the government said.
"Use of self-tests and home tests may be encouraged for symptomatic individuals. Seven such home testing kits have been approved so far," the statement further read.
The new variant, which has brought back worldwide curbs, is said to be "highly infectious" - a majority of cases, however, have been reported to be mild.
All those with symptoms should "immediately isolate themselves and follow home isolation guidelines," the central government has said.
A jump in daily infections in the country - especially in big cities - has sparked fresh worry, months after the healthcare system buckled under the pressure of the second Covid wave.
India has logged over 1,200 Omicron cases so far - a large number of these have been reported from Maharashtra and Delhi.
The country on Friday recorded 16,764 cases - the highest daily surge in several weeks.
Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Gurgaon, and Kolkata are among the cities that have witnessed a surge in cases.
The government on Thursday, however, insisted that there's no need to panic and the country is prepared to tackle the surge.