Assam gets 5th ICMR-accredited lab for coronavirus testing

From Our Special Correspondent

GUWAHATI: Assam now has five laboratories accredited by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to test samples for coronavirus (COVID-19).
State Health and Family Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced that the laboratory at the Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed Medical College and Hospital in Barpeta has been accredited by ICMR for COVID-19.
“Happy to inform that Barpeta Medical College laboratory is accredited by ICMR for COVID-19 testing from today. It becomes the fifth lab of Assam to achieve this. This will further enhance our capacity for a much wider community testing, especially in lower Assam,” Sarma said on Monday.
Till date, as many as 448 samples have been tested for the virus across four centres – Regional Medical Research Centre, Lahowal (Dibrugarh), Virological Lab at Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Jorhat Medical College and Hospital and Silchar Medical College and Hospital (SMCH) – and all the results have come out negative.
Two samples were earlier sent to National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, for testing and found negative.
The minister informed that 4.5 lakh surgical masks were distributed among the frontline staff on Monday to ensure their safety during screening of suspected COVID-19 patients.
“As the supply situation improves, we shall be able to deliver more,” he added.
Sarma also visited the 700-bed quarantine centre being constructed on a war footing at the Sarusajai Sports Complex on Monday and evaluated the preparations there.
The state Health department already has taken a slew of initiatives for COVID-19 preparedness, having dedicated three medical colleges – GMCH, Assam Medical College and Hospital and SMCH – in the state for treatment of persons affected with the virus along with other hospitals in and around Guwahati. Five pre-fabricated hospitals to treat COVID-19 patients are also coming up across the state in the next two months.

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