The government decision to impose fees on Covid-19 testing is "discriminatory", "inhuman", and "suicidal" during a rise in the positive cases, Transparency International Bangladesh said yesterday.
In a statement, the graft watchdog said after the decision came into effect, Covid-19 testing went beyond the capacity of the poor, while the number of confirmed cases also "dropped" with decreasing number of tests.
As a result, the risk of coronavirus infections increased, and the fear of not having the real picture of coronavirus infections in the government action plans to control the pandemic has been intensified, it said.
TIB demanded that the government withdraw the fees immediately and increase Covid-19 testing capacity to effectively check the pandemic.
At a time when more cases were being confirmed through increased testing, the health ministry suddenly on June 30 decided to impose fees on the coronavirus testing, said TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman.
It is not unusual to rise a question on whether the government by taking such a reckless decision during the crisis is discouraging people from undergoing testing, he said.
Iftekharuzzaman said although the testing fees of Tk 200 might seem insignificant to those who made the decision, the amount was still a huge burden for those who could not arrange one meal a day regularly.
"Such a discriminatory and inhuman decision is unacceptable," he added.
The precondition for success of the government steps to fight the pandemic is that those have to be taken based on reliable data, said The TIB executive director.
Sadly, Bangladesh is one of the top countries infected with Covid-19 where fewer number of testing are taking place, he said, adding that the number of testing has decreased as fees has been imposed.