Meghalaya urges Centre to allow 2 more testing centres

COVID-19: Meghalaya urges Centre to allow setting up of 2 more testing facilities in state

Officials of 43 Battalion of Border Security Force (BSF) distribute ration amongst the needy people during the nationwide lockdown, imposed in the wake of coronavirus pandemic. (Credit: PTI Photo)

The Meghalaya government has urged the Centre to allow setting up of two more testing facilities in the state to tackle the novel coronavirus outbreak, Health Minister A L Hek said on Saturday.

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One COVID-19 patient has died in Meghalaya while 11 others are afflicted with the disease so far. There is only one testing facility in the state, at the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) here.

"I have urged Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan to consider increasing the testing facilities in the state," Hek told PTI.

He had attended a video conference with the Union health minister on Friday.

The state health minister said he has proposed setting up of one testing facility each at the NEIGRIHMS here and the Tura Civil Hospital in West Garo Hills district.

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"This will go a long way in helping the government effectively combat COVID-19," he said.

The Union health minister has assured to look into the request, Hek said.

At present, NEIGHRIHMS has the capacity to test 100 samples every day. The state government had recently said one more machine will be installed at the institute which will enhance its daily testing capacity to 180.

"I have briefed the Union minister that the East Khasi Hills district has been categorised as a 'red zone' and all the positive cases reported so far were from one source only," he said.

All the frontline workers are well prepared to deal with the situation and officials concerned have been directed to ensure that all necessary equipment including PPE kits be sent to the medical facilities across the state on time, Hek added.