18 Tests Per Million: India’s Low Testing Rate For COVID-19 Is Concerned?

We’re on Day 2 on 21 days Lockdown – India has so far reported 694 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including 16 deaths because of the pandemic. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India had performed 25,144 tests on 24,254 individuals as of 8 pm on March 25. 

A total of 581 individuals had been confirmed positive among suspected cases and contacts of known positive cases. This puts the rate of testing in India at nearly 18 tests per one million of the population (World Bank estimates, 2018).

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Specialists have argued that India’s low number of coronavirus cases could be because of limited testing and the actual figures of infected people may be higher. Apart from China, in countries such as United States, United Kingdom, Italy, and South Korea, which saw a meteoric rise in confirmed coronavirus cases, the rate of testing is much higher compared with India.

In the situation, Italy, which has recorded over 80,386 cases of Covid-19, has performed 3, 24,445 tests as on March 25 – a rate of 5,268 tests per million of the population – according to its ministry of health. As per the Department of Health and Social Care, the UK has performed 97,019 tests so far at a rate of 1,469 tests per million people. The UK has 9,529 positive cases of coronavirus.

Furthermore, South Korea, which witnessed a sharp rise in cases (9,137 as on Wednesday) but eventually managed to contain the crisis, had performed 3,57,896 tests at a rate of 6,931 tests per million people.

The United States, the most populated country after China and India, has tested citizens at a rate of 1,280 per million of population, according to The Covid Tracking Project, an independent project that collates real-time data from state health departments, press briefings, and media reports. 

Official testing figures by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention lag by some days, are incomplete and, hence, significantly lower. The US currently has nearly 60,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19.

Moreover, within India, according to an analysis by, states, and UTs which have more testing centers and are performing more tests, have reported a higher number of coronavirus cases. While the World Health Organization applauded India’s measures to contain the spread of the virus, its Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said a lockdown alone may not help extinguish the epidemic.

“Proactive measures to find, isolate, test, treat and trace is not only the best and fastest way out of extreme social and economic restrictions, but they’re also the best way to prevent them,” he said.

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Written by Shalini Priya

Shalini Priya is a journalist and she loves to explore the world through her own eyes. She is currently pursuing B.A LLB. She loves to have knowledge about all the latest gadgets and is always stay updated with the things related to gadgets which are happening around. She tries to extract the best from her and is always keen on learning new things.


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