First and second confirmatory tests for COVID-19 are free: Sanjeeva Kumar

New Delhi [India], Mar 15 (ANI): Sanjeeva Kumar, Special Secretary, Ministry of Health on Sunday said that both first and second confirmatory tests for COVID-19 are free for all citizens and the country has enough capacity as only 10 per cent of the capacity has been utilised per day so far.

"Both the first and second confirmatory tests for the coronavirus are free for all citizens and the country has enough testing capacities as only 10 per cent of the total capacity has been utilised per day so far," Kumar said in a press conference.

"An order has been placed for the procurement of an additional 80,56,365 N95 masks and personal protective equipment for the healthcare workers," he said while adding that the AIIMS has instituted a 24x7 helpline - 9971876591 - dedicated to COVID 19. This number is continuously being manned by doctors, he added.

Of the Buldhana patient who died in a private hospital on March 14, Kumar said, "The patient's blood sample was tested and it was reported negative for COVID-19."

He said, "23 new cases have been detected since the last update - 17 from Maharashtra, 2 from Telangana, 1 from Rajasthan and 3 from Kerala. Hence, there are now 107 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country, including 9 discharged cases and 2 deaths."

"Both the deceased patients had pre-existing co-morbidities and the contract tracing of these cases has led to the identification of more than 4,000 contacts and they have been put under surveillance," he added.

On the 236 evacuees from Iran, the Special Secretary said that the third batch of 236 evacuees from Iran has arrived today. They are being quarantined at the Army facility in Jaisalmer. "All are reported to be asymptomatic at present," he added.

He also said that the Air India flight from Milan, Italy, arrived in Delhi on Sunday morning carrying 208 passengers. These evacuees have been taken to the ITBP camp at Chawla and quarantined as per protocol, he said. (ANI)