Guwahati, July 7 (IANS): A door-to-door COVID-19 testing programme has been launched here on Tuesday following a surge in COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks.
Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is personally monitoring the programme in the Pandu area of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC), and is asking people to cooperate, not panic.
"In the state, 786 new cases were detected on Monday night. Of this, 598 were from Guwahati alone. We aim to conduct 3,000 tests in the Ward No 2 (Pandu area) in two days," he said.
According to the Health and Family Welfare Department officials, the state government has procured 200,000 rapid antigen testing kits for quick testing.
The pilot project was launched in the Pandu area as it turned into a hotspot of 'community transmission". "Among the 33,000 population, majority have no travel history. It caused concern to the authorities," said an official.
After withdrawal of travel restrictions, 3,11,217 people returned to Assam by road, trains and air from different parts of the country, which raised the number of coronavirus cases, they said.
"With a big rise in COVID-19 cases, Guwahati, Assam's main commercial city, has entered 'real pandemic phase' with community transmission being witnessed," the Health Minister said.
In just 11 days, the coronavirus cases in the Kamrup (Metro) district jumped to 2,741 from 63. Guwahati, headquarters of the Kamrup (Metro) district, houses 11.20 lakh people.
The state government announced a 14-day "complete lockdown" in the district since June 28 midnight to check the COVID-19'S spread.
Hinting at extension of the "complete lockdown" for another week, beyond July 12, Sarma announced some lockdown relaxations. He said standalone groceries would be allowed to open for certain duration, but strict health and hygiene care must be maintained. According to him, the number of COVID-19 cases in Assam climbed to 12,522. Of this, 4,623 are active cases as 7,882 people have been discharged, three migrated to other states and 15 people died.