COVID-19 tally in Assam crosses 1,500-mark

Guwahati, Jun 2 (PTI) The number of coronavirus cases in Assam reached 1,513 on Tuesday after 28 more people tested positive for COVID-19, Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

Of the 28 new cases, five returned to the state by air, 12 are from Nagaon, 10 from Golaghat and one from Jorhat district, the minister said.

Forty people have been discharged from hospitals after recovering from the disease, he said.

Eighteen patients have been released from Silchar Medical College Hospital, 12 from Golaghat District hospital, nine from Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital in Guwahati and one from Dhemaji district hospital.

The state now has 1,182 active cases, while 324 have recovered from the infection. Four persons have died due to coronavirus and three patients migrated to other states.

A repatriation flight from Russia is scheduled to land at the Lokopriyo Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati at midnight on Tuesday, an Airport Authority of India (AAI) spokesman said.

Earlier, a repatriation flight from Kuwait arrived here on May 29 with 155 passengers and 30 of them tested positive for COVID-19.

Altogether 64 air passengers have so far tested positive for the disease since flight operations resumed on May 25.

Meanwhile, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has approved the Defence Research Laboratory, Tezpur as an authorised testing centre for COVID-19, Sarma said.

'In yet another development that strengthens our ongoing fight against a pandemic, I am pleased to share that @DRDO_India has approved Defence Research Laboratory, Tezpur as an authorized testing centre for #COVID19. I thank @DefenceMinIndia for this', he tweeted.

The DRL will be Assam's eighth laboratory testing coronavirus samples. Several samples are also sent to laboratories outside the state.

The minister had earlier said that the state government's aim in June would be to reduce institutional quarantine and increase the number of testing.

The number of cases in the state has increased after inter-state movement began, 'but we have managed to cross a critical phase by increasing our testing facilities and ensuring a strict but humane quarantine system', he said.

Sarma said 10,000 people are tested daily in the state and by June 15, a total of two lakh people are expected to be tested, he said.

'With the ramping of the testing facilities, our aim now is to reduce institutional quarantine to four days and increase home quarantine to 10 days by June 10, but only if the tests are negative,' he said. PTI DG NN SNE