Assam healthcare authorities have launched a door-to-door coronavirus disease (Covid-19) tests at a densely populated locality in Guwahati, the north-eastern region’s biggest city, from Tuesday following a spike in the viral outbreak cases.
Mass rapid antigen detection (RAD) tests, where results are made available within an hour, started in Ward-2 (Pandu), under the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), state health minister Himanta Biswa Sharma said.
Healthcare workers aim to conduct 3,000 RAD tests by Wednesday.
Usually, it takes up to four days for the results of the conventional reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) to be made available, healthcare officials said.
“In a first-of-its-kind initiative on conducting mass tests in Assam, the healthcare department will carry out house-to-house Covid-19 tests in Ward-2 (Pandu area) of the GMC from Tuesday. We aim to conduct 3,000 tests in the ward by Wednesday,” Sarma had tweeted on Monday.
The move follows the detection of 3,891 Covid-19 positive cases in Guwahati and rest of the Kamrup Metro district between June 24 and July 6.
Earlier, the Assam government had imposed 14-day lockdown restrictions from June 28 to July 12 in the Kamrup Metro district in a bid to contain the viral outbreak.
Sarma had admitted that community transmission of the pandemic occurred in Guwahati. The door-to-door RAD tests are aimed at measuring the extent of spread of the viral disease within the community.
“We decided to start the campaign with Pandu, as the area has become a Covid-19 hotspot and many cases have been detected from there. Other localities in the city will also be covered at a later stage,” Sarma told media persons on Monday.
Some districts in Assam have imposed travel bans to Guwahati because of the spike in Covid-19 positive cases in the city and other parts of the Kamrup Metro district.
On Saturday, Sonitpur district authorities imposed restrictions in a bid to ensure “public health, hygiene, and safety of the general public”.
The move follows similar steps taken by Nalbari and Barpeta district administrations while invoking the provisions of the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
Several districts in the state have taken a cue from Kamrup Metro and enforced lockdown restrictions, as Assam grapples with its annual woes, the flood fury due to torrential downpour and swollen rivers. So far, floods have affected over 6.9 lakh people in 17 districts in the state and 38 people have died due to the seasonal scourge.
On Monday, a two-week lockdown restrictions began in the hilly and tribal-dominated Dima Hasao district, allowing only 30% of all grocery shops to operate between 11 am and 4 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
The authorities in Upper Assam’s Jorhat district also announced on Monday that they would impose a lockdown for from July 9 to July 15.
Dima Hasao and Jorhat districts have recorded 89 and 145 Covid-19 positive cases, respectively, to date.
Assam has reported 12,522 Covid-19 positive cases, including 7,882 recoveries and 14 deaths, until Monday.