Amid a continuing surge in coronavirus cases in Assam, State Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday announced a laboratory dedicated to studying the virus.
Mr Sarma made the announcement during one of his routine visits to the Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital (MMCH), the main COVID-19 hospital in Guwahati, amid increasing fears of community spread of the virus that has infected over 5,000 people in the state.
"This pandemic has exposed us to a new set of challenges. And to battle it, we need to up the ante," said Mr Sarma, assuring that the state has begun to "comprehend the virus better".
Assam has over 3,300 isolation beds spread across its newly inaugurated COVID-19 dedicated hospital, at least seven medical college and hospitals, and numerous coronavirus care centres in the state. It has come from sending samples to the National Institute of Virology initially when the first case of COVID-19 was detected on March 31, to now 12 laboratories capable of conducting at least 10,000 real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RRT-PCR) tests.
Assam has also become the first and only state in the northeast to conduct community testing. Assam has also improved its recovery rate that currently stands a little over 60 per cent, ahead of India's recovery rate of 42 per cent.
However, in the last one month - from May 19 to June 19 - the total positive cases have climbed from 158 to 5,006.
In Guwahati, health workers have detected over 30 positive cases with no traceable COVID-19 contacts and there are at least 118 active containment zones in the city presently, government sources added.