20 private laboratories cleared for H1N1 testing

20 private laboratories cleared for H1N1 testing

“We have increased government testing laboratories from 18 to 23 and have also allowed 20 private laboratories to conduct swine flu testing,” Azad told reporters.

He did not give any details, only saying: "Health ministry will verify and allow more players to do the job provided they match the quality."

He was talking to reporters after addressing a meeting of state health ministers on the National Rural Health Mission, which aims to provide quality medical care to those living in rural and inaccessible areas in the country.

Referring to the confusion over the number of deaths from the H1N1 influenza virus, Azad said: “We have 36 confirmed deaths, but some newspapers have reported a death toll of 45.”

“We will recheck the figures with the state governments and let you know the exact number of deaths so far. There is no need to panic as the country has so far managed to control the spread of virus.”

On Thursday, India reported 159 fresh H1N1 virus cases, taking the total number of people who have tested positive for the infection to 2,401. The national capital recorded its first swine flu deaths Thursday when a 31-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman succumbed to the infection.