New Delhi, India (BBN) – The Indian government on Monday finalized guidelines for private laboratories that will be allowed for testing swine flu, the health ministry said.

The guidelines were finalized at a review meeting, held in the capital, New Delhi with Health Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad in the chair.

“Private diagnostic laboratories that fulfill these guidelines would be allowed to test for Influenza A (H1N1),” the ministry said, adding that this will ensure availability of additional diagnostic capacity in the country to test for Influenza A (H1N1).

The meeting also decided to continue with airport and sea-port screenings and install thermal scanners at international airports in the hope of containing the viral infection that has killed six people across the country.

The issue of closure of schools was discussed at the meeting. It was decided that this decision had to be based on the situation prevailing in the affected areas and therefore, it would be for the state governments to take a decision about closure of schools.

However, mere closure of schools would not solve the problem, unless the children restrict themselves to their homes. “If they continue to move around and socialize, closure of schools would not serve any purpose.”  

“Therefore, it was more important that parents ensure that children who show signs of influenza like illness stay at home and do not socialize,” the ministry noted.

BBN/SS/SI/AD-11August09-2:25 am (BST)