- Bangladesh tested 29,339 samples, highest in a day, and identified a record 6,830 new Covid-19 patients
- Usually 22,000-27,000 samples tested in a day since 22 March, 2021
- 227 labs across the country run Covid-19 tests
- Public and private labs together have the capacity to test 50-60 lakh samples every day
- Specialists propose
- Testing residents of an area overnight after locking it down
- Lifting lockdown from the tested area after isolating the Covid-19 patients
When the Covid-19 hit the country last year, specialists complained that the number of tests done here is not sufficient. During the last one year, the number of tests has increased, but currently the infection is increasing day by day going beyond all past records.
In this situation, the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 urged the government to increase the number of tests even further and make it easier for people to get tested to control the Covid-19 infections.
Initially, only the lab at the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) ran the Covid-19 tests, but now 227 labs across the country are doing the tests.
But, the Covid-19 test seekers are still suffering as they have to wait in long queues to give samples to the labs and then wait a few days to get the report since the infection hiked recently.
In a press release on 1 April, the technical advisory committee on Covid-19 said the government needs to make it easier for people to test for the Covid-19. It also should take adequate preparation keeping in mind that the demand for Covid-19 tests may increase in the coming days.
"Infections are on the rise. Now lakhs of people need to be tested. In addition to the PCR test, more and more antigen and antibody tests should be done," Professor Md Sayedur Rahman, chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, told The Business Standard.
"If the antigen test is done, the pressure on the PCR test will be reduced and the cost will also decrease. This will allow us to isolate Covid-19 positive patients quickly," said Professor Rahman.
"The infection curve can be lowered if the infected persons are identified and isolated by doing more tests during the lockdown. People need to understand that isolation does not mean jail, it means keeping the infected person separate from others at home," Professor Rahman continued.
"If a Covid-19 infected person gets confirmed through the test and remains isolated, he will not spread the virus in his family. This time we are getting more cases where members of the same family are infected," he added.
On Saturday, Bangladesh tested 24,548 samples and identified 5,683 new patients. Earlier, on Friday, the country tested 29,339 samples, which was the highest in a day, and identified a record 6,830 new Covid-19 patients. The number of tests had been fluctuating between 22,000 and 27,000 since 22 March this year.
Noted virologist Professor Nazrul Islam, a member of the Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, told TBS, "Now we have to increase the tests after imposing modified lockdowns. After locking down a small area all the residents there have to be tested overnight. Those who would be found Covid-19 positive should be isolated and the lockdown should be lifted. The infection should be controlled by gradually testing the whole country in this way."
Meanwhile, Dr ASM Alamgir, principal scientific officer of the IEDCR, told TBS that currently Bangladesh has the capacity to increase the tests significantly.
He said, "At present, more than 200 PCR labs test samples for Covid-19. Besides, antigen and GeneXpert tests are going on too. If all the public and private labs use their full capacity together, they can test around 50-60 lakh samples every day. We are requesting those who have symptoms to be tested and stay isolated."
Dr Alamgir further said, "Although there was a testing kit crisis at the beginning of the pandemic, there is no crisis now. Importing kits is an ongoing process. We have enough kits on hand and we get a supply whenever we need them."
The positivity tally reached 6,30,277 with an infection rate of 23.15%, according to the Directorate General of Health Services. However, the overall infection rate stands at 13.26%.
Meanwhile, the country reported 58 more deaths from the virus on Saturday which was 50 a day before. The death toll now stands at 9,213 in the country with a fatality rate of 1.46%.