New Delhi: As the total number of positive cases of the deadly coronavirus in Maharashtra crossed the 400-mark, the Centre permitted state health authorities to expedite detection of the disease with the help of rapid COVID-19 tests. The death toll in the state shot up from 16 to 19 today. Also Read - Indian Boxing Team Doctor Tests Positive For COVID-19

The rapid antibody tests reduces wait time for identification from two days to less than two hours. It require blood samples as opposed to throat/nasal swabs. Any person who has recently been exposed to the highly-contagious virus will develop certain antibodies to fight it, and the rapid test can determine the presence of the antibody. Also Read - Iran Reports 2,349 New Coronavirus Cases; Total Tally at 259,652

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had earlier allowed areas that have been identified as ‘hotspots’ to use the rapid test kits for coronavirus testing. There is, however, a limitation in the availability of these kits which restricts its usage in the country. Also Read - Nepal Partially Lifts Ban on Indian Private News Channels

The confirmed number of cases in Maharashtra shot up by 81 in the span of the last 24 hours, reporting at least 57 in Mumbai, 6 in Pune, 3 in Pimpri Chinchwad, 9 in Ahmednagar, 5 in Thane and 1 in Buldhana.

The state’s worst nightmare came true when two people from the highly-congested urban slum – Dharavi in Mumbai – tested positive for the disease. Dharavi is Asia’s largest slum that houses over 300 buildings in just over five square kilometres.

The Maharashtra government has identified 30 hospitals across the state which would treat only coronavirus patients with 2,305 beds across these hospitals, Health Minister Rajesh Tope stated.

Shortly after Prime Minister’s video conference with all state chief ministers, the health minister also noted that nearly 3.25 migrant labourers in the state have been shifted to state-run shelters for the period of lockdown.

Earlier this week, Kerala and Karnataka had also announced that they will procure rapid test kits for early detection of coronavirus.