The COVID 19 cases in Guwahati had started surging at geometrical ratios after 15th June. Several cases did not have any travel history that signalled community spread. In a bid to contain the pandemic, the state government had announced a stringent 14 day lockdown spanning the fag end of June and the first half of July and started 'house to house' testing from 7th July. By then 31 centres in the city had already been established for swab testing and the 'house to house' testing initiative was envisaged to execute intensive testing exercises in other wards as well.
The first house testing drive was conducted at Ward No 2 (Pandu area) of Guwahati Municipality that incidentally features among the COVID hotspots of the city. About 3,000 tests were conducted within two days. The locality had reported a positivity rate of 38 per cent. Over 33 thousand people live in very congested neighbourhoods in the locality that has several containment zones. Moreover, over 90 per cent of the patients in the locality had no travel history. Today the concept of 'house to house' testing has proliferated across almost all the municipal wards of Guwahati.
There are mixed reactions on this initiativeWhile some people have applauded this move many others have been critical and apprehensive. "The antigen detection kits are being over- used in house to house testing and a negative person can become positive by coming into contact with these overused kits," says a senior citizen on condition of anonymity. For house testing, Standard Q Antigen tests kits are being used.
"Over testing that is happening with 'house to house' testing is not required. By detecting a colossal number of patients who have mild symptoms and hospitalizing them the authorities are actually causing a shortage of beds for people who actually need them," says Lipika Goswami.
However, some views have been very positive. "This is a great initiative by the state government in terms of controlling the rising coronavirus cases in Guwahati", says Donna Choudhary. "There is always a fluctuation in everything that the state government is undertaking. They need to be more sensible with all the decisions they take in order to avoid loopholes. However, house to house testing is a good initiative and it should work", says Tanu Verma.