With over 1 lakh tests, Assam has surpassed Kerala when it comes to testing people for coronavirus infections, state Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said today.
Out of the total 1 lakh tests, about 70 thousand have been done in the last 20 days in state's seven testing labs.
The state now plans to conduct 10 thousand tests per day and over 2 lakh tests in a month, the minister added.
Assam ranks 14th in terms of sample testing with 1,04,083 COVID-19 tests conducted so far, surpassing Kerala (77,257 tests), Punjab (84,497 tests) and Bihar (73,929 tests).
"This is a major feat for this state that had been sending its test samples to NIV (National Institute of Virology), Pune, initially. Over 70,000 of these tests were conducted in May," Mr Sarma said.
Off the total tests, 4,033 tests were outsourced by the health department, while the rest were tested in the state's laboratories - in Jorhat (12,732 samples), Silchar (9,111 samples), Gauhati (22,000 samples), Dibrugarh (5,100 samples), Barpeta (22,000 samples), Tezpur (12,450 samples) and Dibrugarh (12,905 samples).
"The RMRC has also tested samples coming from other northeastern states which have not been added in the list," Mr Sarma said.
The government is also planning to add 2-3 Covid-19 labs to its existing capacity.
So far, only eight states with over 2,000 COVID positive cases have been able to cross the two lakh test-mark.
"Kerala is known for its medical infrastructure for past 60 years. We are still developing. For a Northeastern state to achieve this is a good beginning," Mr Sarma added.
The state also plans to reduce mandatory institutional quarantine to four days from mid-June, he said.
The minister added that the state will try to deliver COVID-19 reports in 72 hours of testing.
"We will try to deliver COVID tests rests within 72 hours of sample collection. So people will get their tests report in three-four days and sent them to home quarantine if they are negative and to the hospital if they are positive. This will help us save public money since we have made it mandatory for everyone returning back to Assam to be on institutional quarantine and in doing so we have been able to keep away from community transmission," Mr Sarma said.