BNP yesterday demanded immediate cancellation of coronavirus test fee set by the government.
Coming down strongly on the government's decision to set a coronavirus testing fee, the party's senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi said, "It has now become clear that the government has taken the step to discourage people from undergoing tests."
He said it is the responsibility of the state to conduct free coronavirus tests on its own initiative in public interest. "We call upon the government to immediately take steps for conducting free coronavirus tests."
The BNP leader made the demand at a virtual press briefing arranged from the party's Nayapaltan central office.
On Monday last, the government fixed the coronavirus test fee in an effort to avoid unnecessary tests of Covid-19.
According to it, anyone who wants to conduct a test from government hospitals or Covid-19 dedicated booths have to pay Tk 200 while Tk 500 if samples collected from the home of a patient suspected to be infected with the virus.
Opposing the government's decision, Rizvi said no government in the world officially charge fee for the Covid-19 test.
"The free Covid test is being conducted in Afghanistan and all other neighbouring countries. This test is free even in Burkina Faso, one of the world's poorest economies, in West Africa," he said.
He alleged that the government is trying to use the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to make money. "Many low-income people are unable to undergo coronavirus test even though they have symptoms."
The BNP leader called upon the government to extend the sample testing facility to district and upazila levels across the country.
He said most private hospitals are not testing Covid-19 at the rate of Tk 3,500 set by the government.
"Private hospitals are charging Tk 5,000-6,000 for this purpose, as the government is not trying to control them,"the BNP leader added.