As of March 28, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control, and Research (IEDCR) was the sole authority to test the suspects
The authorities have permitted the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) and other institutes across the country to begin testing Covid-19 suspects.
“We are in discussion with the government on whom to test, how to test, and what to do with the report,” AKM Tariful Islam Khan, media manager of communications at icddr,b, told Dhaka Tribune on Monday.
Despite the fact that icddr,b had been allowed to conduct tests, the testing mechanism and the process between government and the icddr,b was yet to be finalized, said an icddr,b official.
Moreover, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Director Dr Md Habibur Rahman on the same day told reporters that tests for coronavirus infections would be conducted at six Dhaka laboratories through the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing machines.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) will also begin testing Covid-19 patients very soon following the completion of a specialized lab for the task on the first floor of Bangladesh Betar Bhaban in Shahbagh.
Beginning March 28, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control, and Research (IEDCR) was the sole authority to test suspects.
Covid-19 tests will now be conducted in Dhaka's seven laboratories including at icddr,b, BSMMU, Institute of Public Health, Dhaka Shishu Hospital, and IEDCR.
Meanwhile, the government has also sent PCR machines to hospitals in Mymensingh, Sylhet, Barisal, Khulna, and Rajshahi as a measure to extend coronavirus testing facilities across the country.
In Mymensingh, authorities at the Mymensingh Medical College Hospital, after recently getting a PCR machine from the government, are hopeful of opening their testing facility from Tuesday.
Confirming the matter, the Principal of Mymensingh Medical College Hospital, Prof Dr Chitta Ranjan Debnath, said: "We are hopeful of starting testing for coronavirus patients from today. The machine has already been installed under the supervision of IEDCR officials. We have already appointed people who will conduct the tests while assuring of necessary precautionary measures."
In Sylhet, the MAG Medical College and Hospital has received a PCR testing machine to detect people infected with Covid-19.
Dr Himangshu Lal Roy, deputy director of the hospital, confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune on Monday.
"We have already readied a room for installing the machine. Once the machine is installed, we will train medical professionals who will be able to test people for coronavirus from next Sunday," said Dr Himangshu.
In Barisal, Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital (SBMCH) has also received one PCR testing machine, said Dr Asit Bhusan Das, principal of SBMCH yesterday.
"The PCR will be installed at the hospital's department of microbiology and virology. It will take us at least seven days to begin testing for coronavirus patients," he added.
"An IEDCR technician will come to train local operators and check the installation of the machine," said Dr Jahangir Hossain, head of the department of microbiology and virology at SBMCH.
In Khulna, a PCR testing machine to detect Covid-19 and other complicated diseases reached Khulna Medical College Hospital (KMCH) yesterday morning, reports UNB.
KMCH Director Dr ATM Manzur Morshed said: "It will take one week for completing the installation of the machine and other related works.
"Blood, sweat and cough of suspected corona patients will be tested here."
In Rajshahi, the PCR test for coronavirus detection is expected to start from April 1 at the Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH).
The installation of a laboratory is in progress at the Department of Virology in RMCH, where the machine has already arrived from Dhaka.
Confirming the matter, Prof Sabera Gulnahar, Head of the Department of Virology, said installation of the laboratory is progressing fast. Need-based work for imparting training to doctors, nurses, paramedics and other requisite manpower, is ongoing.
The IEDCR till now has confirmed a total of 49 coronavirus cases in Bangladesh, with five deaths and 19 recoveries.
The fast spreading coronavirus, which was first reported in China's Wuhan, has infected 741,774 people and claimed 35,334 lives till 8:41pm on Monday, according to worldometer.info.
Globally, a total of 156,602 infected people have also recovered from Covid-19, a pandemic announced by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Dhaka Tribune's Mizanur Rahman in Dhaka, Barisal correspondent Anisur Rahman Swapan, Sylhet correspondent Md Serajul Islam, Rajshahi correspondent Abdullah Al Dulal and Mymensingh correspondent contributed to this report