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Coronavirus patients on rise amid steep decline in tests

Published : Monday, 13 July, 2020 at 12:00 AM  Count : 142
HM Imam Hasan

The more the number of coronavirus patients is increasing the more the number of tests is decreasing due to inadequate supply of kits and imposition of fees.
Under this situation, the country may see huge surge in coronavirus transmission as people are reluctant to get to hospitals for test because it is no longer a free test.
According to the Department of Health, in the last week sample testing of Covid 19 came down drastically.
On July 6, 14,245 samples were tested while 3,201 patients were found infected with the virus.
It gradually came down to 11,059 on 12 July and accordingly the number of infected patents too dropped to 2,666.
Just in the previous week the number of sample tests was 17,000 to over 18,000 and the number of infected people too was around 4,000.
The Department of Health said more than seven lakh kits had been brought so far. Of this, Central Medical Stores Depot (CMSD) had procured five lakhs through various vendors.
The remaining two lakhs came from various donor agencies.
Coronavirus testing is said to be in crisis due to shortage of laboratory and testing kits in Bangladesh.
Many of those involved in sample collection and testing have reported that sample collection has now come down.
The Department of Health said lack of laboratory and testing kits had complicated the situation.
Coronavirus testing started from IEDCR's
    laboratory in Dhaka. Three months after the onslaught of the infection, the number of labs increased from one to 77. Of these, 32 laboratories are in Dhaka and the rest are in different big cities.
Labs are being infected and therefore not all labs can be run simultaneously. As a result, the Department of Health said, there were piles of samples in every lab.
Along with the government, private development agency BRAC is setting up 54 booths in different parts of the country including Dhaka to collect samples.
Morsheda Chowdhury, a BRAC official in charge of managing the booth, said sample collection had now dropped due to crisis of lab as well as kits.
"We used to collect 30 samples a day from each of our booths. That's a number fixed by the Department of Health. We have the capacity to test a certain number of samples in our laboratory as there is a shortage of kits. "
"That's why this week we're collecting half the samples, which means we're collecting 15 samples instead of 30. There is also a risk in such labs. The lab also becomes infected leading to a shutdown of the lab concerned," she added.
Dr. Shahidullah, Chief of Technical Committee of Coronavirus, said, "Nowadays some people are trying to hide their Covid-19 symptoms as they have to pay for the sample testing after the government had fixed a certain amount for testing."
It has been 126 days since the first Covid-19 case was detected on March 8 but Bangladesh is still lagging behind the other South Asian countries in terms of increasing the testing facilities.
The Department of Health used to highlight the information on kits in stock in the country at regular press briefings. Information about the kits has been withheld for a long time.
Now no one in the Health Department is willing to open their mouths about the stock of kits. They are saying that kits are being brought from different countries.

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