Assam will begin mass testing in Guwahati from Tuesday to check for community transmission of the novel coronavirus. Fears the outbreak may have reached the third stage – in which the source of infection in individual cases cannot be traced – have been raised amid a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in the city with no travel history.
Similar fears have been raised over the outbreak across India but last week the centre firmly denied this, despite a spike in cases in Delhi and Mumbai.
At least 50,000 people will be tested, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, adding that if more than 500 were found to be positive the government could impose some restrictions, if not a total lockdown of the state.
Assam has tested 2,17,088 samples so far. It plans to test over three lakh people by the end of this month. The state’s focused approach in fighting the crisis has resulted in relatively fewer cases so far.
Moreover, given the way it has scaled up medical infrastructure, it also has a good recovery rate – 53 per cent; 254 patients were discharged on Monday.
As of 10 PM Monday, Assam has reported a total of 4,158 COVID-19 cases. Eight deaths have been linked to the virus. As many as 2,166 people have been successfully treated and there are only 1,981 active cases.