The government today introduced the much talked about antigen-based rapid testing in 10 districts across the country.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque inaugurated the rapid testing through video conferencing from his village home in Manikganj while Health Secretary Abdul Mannan and Director General of the health directorate Prof ABM Khurshid Alam participated in the event from their respective residences.
Testing process on samples from three patients in Jashore district hospitals was shown live at the online event. Two of the tests showed Covid-19 negative result while another was under process.
The 10 districts are Jashore, Brahmanbaria, Gaibandha, Joypurhat, Madaripur, Meherpur, Munshiganj, Panchagarh, Patuakhali and Sylhet.
The antigen-based rapid testing is an easy-to-use molecular test -- alternative to the sophisticated RT-PCR tests -- which detects the presence of the virus itself.
Following recommendations given by the National Technical Advisory Committee, the health services division of the health ministry on September 17 approved the antigen rapid testing kit after months of bureaucratic exercises.
It aimed at setting up antigen testing facilities at 39 public hospitals and specialised institutes in areas which did not have RT-PCR testing facilities.
The country is conducting around 15,000 tests a day in 118 authorised laboratories. It is ranked at the bottom in the world in terms of conducting Covid-19 tests considering its population of over 160 million.
In the programme, Prof Khurshid Alam also informed DGHS is going to set up a mobile Covid-19 testing lab in Ashkona Hajj Camp quarantine center which will also travel to the city's another quarantine center in Uttara's Diabari.