Assam has one of the most impressive statistics when it comes to containing the spread of COVID-19, with a recovery rate of 98 per cent and a positivity rate of less than 1 per cent. Of the total 2.12 lakh cases in the state, the number of deaths linked to the virus is under 1,000.
Since October 15, Assam has the lowest percentage of cases as well as the number of deaths and cases among the big states. The state has not reported a second wave either after the festival season.
Air passengers landing at the Guwahati airport are being tested for COVID -19. With a spike in many parts of the country, such as Delhi, Assam has set up a Covid testing lab with the facility to conduct RT-PCR tests right at the airport to identify passengers who could be infected by the virus.
The northeastern state is maintaining a policy of no-entry for anybody without a Covid negative report. People travelling to Assam by train or flight will have to show a Covid negative report or get tested at the labs set up at the entry points.
"No entry without Covid test policy. With 1.53 lakh tests per million, Assam has one of the highest testing rates. Aggressive targeting testing in vulnerable areas since August, special surveillance drive in the villages, dedicated Covid hospitals in every district and a top-down approach have helped us achieve this," Assam Health Secretary Samir Sinha told NDTV.
Passengers coming to Assam feel this is a model that others needs to follow. "Restrictions are required. We are fine with this since in this way, a check is being kept on the spread of the disease and also, positive cases are detected here itself. In other places as well at least in airports and railway stations, there should be testing and checks," said Manish Kumar, a passenger at Guwahati's Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport, who arrived from New Delhi.
"I saw in the news that Delhi is doing about 67,000 tests a day during this spike. In Assam, when Covid was at its peak, we have done about one lakh tests for about 20 days. So for us, the gold standard has been testing, Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma told NDTV.
But the minister sounded a caveat.
"For over one and half month, we have seen a continuous decline in Covid cases, from over 36,000 cases at the peak, Assam now has about 3,000 cases. But these are relative because you never know when the virus will strike you back again" Mr Sarma said.
Buoyed with no spike in the number of coronavirus cases even after the festive season, Assam now plans to open schools from the nursery to Class 5 in the beginning of the next year.