Guwahati, July 1 (IANS) Assam recorded 753 fresh Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, taking the state's tally to 8,547, while the death toll rose to 12, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Wednesday.
With 502 of the new cases in Guwahati city, he termed the Covid-19 situation in Guwahati as “most critical”. Guwahati, which falls under Kamrup (Metro) district and where a complete lockdown has been imposed for 14 days since June 28 midnight, has reported around 1,800 cases so far.
“As the people are not cautious enough, that is why there is a rapid spike of coronavirus cases in the state's main city,” Sarma said, noting that even after giving samples for testing, people are not isolating themselves.
He also told the media that so far over four lakh samples have been tested. “The health authorities have evolved new testing methods in which sample testing report would be available in 15 minutes to one hour time,” he added.
Claiming his state is in the third position in testing ratio in the country, the Minister said that 11,750 tests per million are being conducted in Assam compared to Andhra Pradesh's 16,000 and Tamil Nadu's 14,000.
“Assam within the next one week is expected to cross the testing ratio of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. Union Home Minister has asked me to conduct 10,000 tests per day. But this is not possible. We cannot force the people for Covid-19 testing unless they show any symptoms. We can conduct tests of maximum 4,000 samples per day in the existing 13 laboratories. Six more laboratories would be ready soon.”
Sarma also said that Assam's Covid-19 recovery rate is 66 against Kerala's 51.
Of the total of 8,547 positive cases in Assam, 5,647 people recovered from the disease and 12 people, including a 16-year-old girl, died.
The Health Minister said that in a major breakthrough, scientists of the ICMR's Regional Medical Research Centre for northeast region (ICMR-RMRC) at Lahowal in Dibrugarh, led by Dr Biswajit Borkakoty, have successfully separated the coronavirus strain — SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) virus in their BSL-3 laboratory.
The RMRC is the third government lab in the country after the ICMR's NIV in Pune and CSIR's CCMB in Hyderabad and 4th lab overall after Bharat Biotech (Pvt Biotechnology lab in Hyderabad), to isolate the virus in tissue culture.
The RMRC in Dibrugarh has been supporting Assam and other NE states in the fight against Covid-19. According to an official release, so far the research centre, which has provided almost 50,000 diagnostic test reports of Covid-19 for the people of the region, is engaged in various biomedical research works including on the pandemic.