The new AIIMS at Bathinda is set to commence Covid testing in the next two weeks with a daily initial capacity of 180, to be further scaled up to 500/day within a month of launch.A 30-bedded Level II Covid care facility will also become functional within the next one month at the hospital, which is already providing OPD services to patients, including a large number of cancer patients.This was disclosed by an official spokesperson on Tuesday after a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh with AIIMS Bathinda Executive Director & CEO Dr Dinesh Kumar Singh and other officials to review the progress of the hospital’s preparedness for Covid care and other related issues. Describing it as a highly prestigious institute for Punjab, the Chief Minister said the Bathinda AIIMS will be of immense benefit to large number of patients in the Malwa belt.The Chief Minister assured the AIIMS team of all support from the state government to facilitate Covid care at the facility, where some of the ancillary construction and other works have been delayed due to the outbreak of the pandemic.The Chief Minister was informed that the Hospital is set to launch MRI, CT SCAN & X-RAY facilities soon, while the MBBS College-2019 batch will also be shifted to the premises spread over 179 acres land provided by the state government. An amount of Rs 328 crore has been spent so far, against the project cost of Rs 925 crores.Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan said the state government would extend all help to the institute to put the Covid and other essential infrastructure in place in order to scale up Punjab’s fight against the pandemic. On the issue of construction of flyover from NH54 to AIIMS Bathinda, she said the government was taking it up with the National Highway Authority of India. With regard to construction of a bus stand and increasing the frequency of buses, she said the same would be done after the Covid restrictions are completely lifted. The city has a fire brigade, comprising 7 fire tenders, in readiness just 10 minutes away, with a mock drill already done successfully, the meeting was informed.