Low test rate yields less Covid-19 cases as health experts suggest at least 20,000 tests per day
The country recorded the highest number of novel coronavirus cases on Wednesday last, and since then the number of total tests started falling keeping the infection rate low while the country was supposed to ramp up testing.
Expert fear that the tendency – detecting less infections with low test rate – may belie the reality as the country has recently witnessed a disturbing surge in coronavirus cases.
They said the current trend of the infection rate requires at least 20,000 Covid-19 tests per day.
The health directorate on Sunday reported 3,531 new cases of coronavirus infection testing 15,585 samples. The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) also reported 39 confirmed deaths from the virus in last 24 hours until Sunday.
On Wednesday last (June 17), highest 17,527 tests in a single day confirmed record 4,008 cases.
On June 18, 3,803 cases were found testing 16,259 samples. on June 19, testing 15,045 samples, 3,243 coronavirus patients were detected. On June 20, there had been 14,031 tests conducted and 3,240 cases detected.
Experts are of the opinion that in order to stem the tide of the pandemic, there is no alternative to quick identification and isolation of coronavirus patients.
Professor Nazrul Islam, a virologist and member of the National Advisory Committee on Coronavirus, said, "The current trend of the infection rate requires at least 20,000 Covid-19 tests per day. If this trend continues, we might need to conduct even more tests on a daily basis.
"We must conduct more tests in the red zones, isolate the people testing positive for the coronavirus and quarantine those who came into contact with the infected. Unless we take those steps, infections will continue to rise."
Meantime, public health experts also mentioned some drawbacks which deter the 61 testing facilities across the country from using their full capacities.
Among the drawbacks are that most of the facilities have only one PCR machine and serious scant of skilled technicians while several facilities have stopped testing due to contamination, as they did not have biosafety labs.
With the new infections, the total number has climbed up to 1,12,306 while the total death from the lethal virus reached to 1,464 as of Sunday.
"Among the deceased, 35 are men and four women. Of them, 16 were from Dhaka, 11 from Chattogram, four each from Khulna and Barishal, two from Rajshahi and one each from Rangpur and Sylhet," said Professor Dr Nasima Sultana, additional director general of the health directorate, during the daily bulletin.
Among the deceased, 33 patients died at different hospitals and six at their respective homes, she added.
In the meantime, some 1,084 patients have recovered from Covid-19, taking the tally to 45,077.
Nasima further said, around 40.14 percent of coronavirus-positive patients (both symptomatic and asymptomatic) have recovered so far while 1.30 percent have died.
Without any development for weeks, there are 399 ICU facilities and 112 dialysis beds for the treatment of coronavirus infected patients.
So far, the deadly virus has killed 4,67,011 people globally and infected 89,31,812.