New Delhi: The Government of India tweaked the existing export policy of COVID-19 Rapid Antigen testing kits on Monday and imposed restrictions on export of RAT COVID-19 testing kits with immediate effect, reported news agencies. The development comes amid several experts warning of a possible third wave of the coronavirus pandemic. “The export of COVID-19 rapid antigen testing kits… has been put under restricted category, with immediate effect,” the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (under Ministry of Commerce and Industry) said in a notification.Also Read - Board exams 2022: CBSE Announces BIG Relief For Students Who Have Lost Parents to COVID-19. Details Here
Exporters have to seek licence or permission from the DGFT to ship items under the restricted category. Such restrictions are aimed at increasing the domestic availability of the kits. “The export of COVID-19 Rapid Antigen testing kits falling under the ITC (HS) codes – Ex 3822 and Ex 3002 – or falling under any other HS Code has been put under restricted category, with immediate effect,” the government notification read. Until now, the Government of India’s export policy for COVID-19 Rapid Antigen testing kits was ‘free’. Also Read - International Flights Latest News Today: Fully Vaccinated Passengers Can Travel to The US From November | Fresh Guidelines And Other Details Here
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The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had on May 19 issued an advisory for COVID-19 home testing using rapid antigen Tests (RATs). Home testing has been advised for symptomatic suspected COVID-19 patients and also for those in immediate contact with confirmed coronavirus cases. The spread of coronavirus to rural areas, where RT-PCR testing labs are not available, is said to be the main reason behind this strategy change. RATs can be done in rural areas by a door-to-door exercise and throw up results in an instant, thereby helping in the quick start of the treatment.
Several experts have been warning of a possible third wave of the pandemic hitting the country in the near future. Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases in the country rose to 3,22,25,513 on Monday and the death toll climbed to 4,31,642, according to the Union health ministry data.
(With inputs from agencies)