The Ministry of Health and Population has added a few changes to the RT-PCR testing guideline for COVID-19 through a ministerial-level meeting.

The new changed guideline includes conducting RT-PCR tests on people with symptoms like loss of taste and smell and diarrhoea. Earlier, individuals with these symptoms were not eligible to get tested for COVID-19 as only those suffering from high fever, cough, and breathing problems were tested.

Similarly, those who have come in contact with COVID-19 infected persons, frontline workers, and infected persons before being discharged from the hospital will also undergo RT-PCR test from now on.

Criteria for PCR testing:

1. All patients with symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty in breathing, loss of taste and smell, diarrhea)
2. People who came into contact with infected
3. Patients with severe respiratory problems
4. All arriving from abroad (all those arriving by land and air within five to seven days of quarantine)
5. Frontline health workers and other frontline staffers
6. Those who have visited the COVID-19 infected area in the last 14 days
7. All patients in the ICU
8. Chronic patients, those with weak immune systems (especially those over 60 years)
9. Patients who need surgery based on medical evaluation (no need to wait for test results for emergency treatment and surgery)
10. For discharge of COVID-19 patients of moderate, severe and very severe condition based on medical evaluation, test results not required for patient discharge after 14 days (if patient is asymptomatic for at least three days).