Covid-19 tests must be done most expeditiously

The Daily Star  June 01, 2020

People’s lives are at stake!

It is a frightening prospect for a person showing the symptoms of the virus, having reported for testing for Covid-19, to be asked by the authorities to return after a month. The only way to determine the spread and allow whatever resources that is at the disposal of the authorities, which can be employed to combat the virus, is to put through as many people as possible through the process of testing. We neither have the resources nor the manpower as yet to do that, not many countries have. But the least that our system can do is to have those who show symptoms of the virus tested immediately to confirm or otherwise and not tell them to wait a few days—not to speak of waiting for a month—for the test.

Yet the Savar district authorities are asking the city populace to do exactly that. A RMG worker was asked to return for the test on June 30, after presenting himself for testing at Savar Upazila Health Complex on May 28. And he suffers from some symptoms of the virus. What good would the test be after a month? Do the health authorities realise that in the meantime he may contaminate dozen others, he being a RMG worker. Like him, many people in Savar have been asked by the Upazila Health Complex authorities to wait between two weeks and a month for the Covid-19 test.

Admittedly, the facilities are scant in the outlying areas, but things must be prioritised. And those who need testing ought to be provided the facility. There is no way out but to increase testing facilities and manpower. The logistics system must be accelerated, and quick testing facilities must be introduced without further delay. In this regard one wonders about the fate of the quick testing Gonoshasthaya kit. It has been nearly three weeks since it was submitted for clearance! Can’t the process be hastened? People’s lives are at stake!



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