New Delhi:

A record 14,92,409 tests have been conducted for detection of COVID-19 in a span of 24 hours, taking the total tests done so far in the country to nearly 7 crore, while the national cumulative positivity rate stands at 8.44 percent, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday. The Tests Per Million (TPM) stand at 49,948 as of today, it said.

This exponential surge in the daily testing capacities strongly demonstrates the determined escalation of the testing infrastructure in the country, the ministry said.

"Evidence has revealed that higher numbers of testing subsequently leads to lowered positivity rate. States that are testing the highest numbers are also reporting a gradual decline in the positivity rate," the ministry said.

"India has scaled a historic peak in the fight against COVID-19. In a landmark achievement, for the first time, a record high number of nearly 15 lakh COVID-19 tests have been conducted in a single day taking the cumulative testsconducted so far to6,89,28,440," it said.

With the expansion of testing infrastructure, the daily testing by states and UTs has also increased. As many as 23 states and UTs including Delhi, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Haryana, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Punjab and Telangana have better tests per million than the national average (49,948).

As reiterated by the prime minister while reviewing the status and preparedness of seven states and UTswith high burden of caseload recently, testing forms an integral pillar of COVID-19 response and management.

The Centre's three-pronged strategy of 'test, track and treat' begins with testing. Withthe "Chase the virus" approach, the Union Government aims to catch every missing person through testing to curb spread of the infection.

Several measures have been taken by the Union Government through calibrated steps to widen the testing net and ensure easier and more accessible testing by all across the country.

States/UTs have been empowered with flexibility to ensure higher testing. They have been advised that all symptomatic negatives of Rapid Antigen Tests are mandatorily subjected to RT-PCR.