NEW DELHI: India conducted the lowest number of daily COVID-19 tests since mid-August on Sunday (Sep 19), but the health ministry urged local governments not to let their guard down during the September to November festival season.
States and federally controlled territories carried out 1.18 million tests on Sunday, government data showed on Monday, down from 1.56 million on Saturday and against a capacity of more than 2 million.
It comes as most states dropped compulsory testing for fully vaccinated travellers in recent weeks, as they try to boost their economies by making it easier for people to commute.
New COVID-19 infections meanwhile have plateaued at around 30,000 a day as vaccinations surged but some health experts say this could also be down to reduced testing.
The federal health ministry urged states and federally controlled territories on Saturday to step up testing, warning that the festival season could lead to another spike in infections. Local governments are responsible for local-level health policies in the country, as per the Indian constitution.
After a meeting with state officials on Saturday, the health ministry said that there was “no room for any complacency” and that local authorities should urgently augment hospital infrastructure, oxygen supply, ambulance services and build up buffer stocks of critical drugs.