Corona testing centres lie idle as cases drop
Most of the corona test centres are lying vacant across the country including in Dhaka due to the lack of visitors amid a fall in Covid-19 cases.
“The corona testing centres are still functioning but very few people visit the centres now for Covid-19 testing,” Dr. Md. Farid Hossain Miah, Director (Hospital) of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) told the Daily Sun.
He said some temporary coronavirus test booths set up at different places across the country have been shut due to lack of patients. “However, all the coronavirus test centres set up across the country will exist and start work in full swing if necessary,” Farid Hossain Miah added.
According to the DGHS, the daily corona infection rate remains below two percent for the past 40 consecutive days.
The daily infection rate was reported at 0.67 percent on Monday. It was 1.04 percent on Sunday, 1.28 percent on Saturday and 0.64 percent on Friday.
The infection rate crossed 30 percent during the third wave of the virus transmission and it started declining further from the beginning of the last month.
DGHS data suggest that 4,22,668 samples were tested for Covid-19 infection in March this year, 9,22,657 in February and 9,87,194 samples were tested across the country in January.
The highest 33.37 percent infection rate was reported on January 28 this year.
The government increased the number of coronavirus testing centres and booths across the country including in Dhaka during the surge in Covid-19 cases.
At the same time, the non-government organization BRAC also set up coronavirus sample collection booths at different places in the capital and its adjacent areas.
According to the DGHS data, there are a total of 879 government and private corona test labs -- 160 RT PCR labs (56 government and 104 private), 57 GeneXpert (54 government and three private) and 662 Rapid Antigen (545 government and 117 private) labs across the country, including in the Dhaka city now.
There are around 90 RT PCR labs for corona test in Dhaka and its adjacent areas while around 20 of them are situated in government and autonomous institutes of hospitals.
A DGHS report said some 5,515 samples were collected and 5,545 samples were tested across the country in the last 24 hours till 8 am on April 19. The number of daily sample collections rose to over 55,000 in August last year and the number of the daily test also crossed 55,000 at the same time during the second wave of the Covid-19 infection in Bangladesh.
The daily infection rate crossed 30 percent in the country during the third wave of the virus transmission and it started declining further from the beginning of the last month.
According to the BRAC, after rising the coronavirus transmission, it also set up 112 coronavirus sample collection booths at 45 spots in Dhaka city, Chattogram city, Tongi, Savar and Narayanganj.
Currently, the sample collection booths are available at 41 spots while many booths have been closed.
“We have closed a few booths at some spots as the number of patients has dropped,” Dr Md Ripon, head of BRAC's Health, Nutrition and Population Programme (HNPP) told the Daily Sun.
Visiting different hospitals in the capital, it was seen that additional corona sample collection booths have been closed due to lack of patients during the last one month.
“Our corona test centre is open but we are getting very few patients now,” Prof Dr Mir Jamal Uddin, director of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD) told the Daily Sun.
The DGHS sources said though the coronavirus testing facilities were available only in Dhaka and in some divisional headquarters at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic now, these centres have spread to upazila and district levels across the country.