Export of rapid antigen testing kits restricted

New Delhi [India]: The government on Monday imposed restrictions on the export of COVID-19 rapid antigen testing kits at the time when several experts have been warning of a possible third wave of coronavirus in the country.
“The export of COVID-19 rapid antigen testing kits has been put under the restricted category with immediate effect,” said a notification by the Directorate General of foreign trade (DGFT). Now, exporters have to seek a license or permission from the DGFT for shipping items under the restricted category. These restrictions will increase the availability of the kits in the country.
Earlier, in May, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) suggested use of Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) kits for mass screening. It also said that the RAT should be allowed in government and private healthcare facilities across the country in cities, towns, schools, colleges, and community centres.
The Indian Council of Medical Research also issued an advisory for COVID-19 home testing using rapid antigen kits. The spread of coronavirus to rural areas, where RT-PCR testing labs are not available was the main reason behind this strategy.
According to Central government’s data on August 4, there are some warning signals that showed India’s R number above 1, for the first time from May. An R-value above 1 means every COVID-19 infected person or individual is infecting more than one other person.
The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said a rise in coronavirus cases is being witnessed in 18 districts, primarily in Kerala (10 districts), Maharashtra, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

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