NTAC suggested making Covid-19 tests at public laboratories free of charge, and reassessing the price of tests in private laboratories
The Covid-19 National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) has recommended another week of strict lockdown to control the spread of the deadly virus in the country.
The committee made the recommendation at its virtual meeting, headed by its Chairman Prof Md Sahidullah, around 8pm on Sunday night, said a press release on Sunday.
Previously, NTAC recommended a full lockdown for at least two weeks. The government has already implemented a weeklong lockdown from April 14 and the committee expressed satisfaction over that.
However, scientifically effective results cannot be expected in less than two weeks of lockdown.
The committee realized the need to keep the industries open in the interest of keeping the country's economy afloat. However, private offices, banks being kept open, increasing private car traffic, unwanted and unnecessary extra crowds in the Iftar markets make the success of the lockdown uncertain.
NTAC advised keeping everything closed except for health, fire service, and other emergency services.
The meeting also drew the attention of policy makers to the issue of social equality. It mentioned the unforeseen incidents and obstructions to the movement of health workers, including doctors, when travelling for their duty during the ongoing lockdown.
The committee then recommended a strict lockdown for one more week. It said the decision can be taken by considering the rate of infection before the end of the week.
It is advisable to prepare and pre-plan to gradually end the lockdown, the committee added.
The government was congratulated on the launch of DNCC Covid-19 hospital. Emphasis was also placed on taking steps to increase capacity more quickly due to the increased pressure of patient admissions.
Early detection of Covid-19 patients is important for infection prevention. The government is working to increase the capacity of the laboratories However, recently the number of sample tests has decreased.
Sample collection booths need to be set up in every ward in urban areas to make sampling easier and within the reach of patients. Rapid antigen testing is recommended at the sample collection booths so the report can be provided quickly, said NTAC.
In order to make the sample test easily available, NTAC has already suggested making the testing at public laboratories free of charge. As the price of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test kits has come down significantly, NTAC suggested reassessing the price of sample tests in private laboratories.
This will increase the number of tests, bring it within the reach of the general public and ensure that tests can be done at an affordable price. The pressure on the government laboratories will be reduced a bit.
This will also ensure isolation by providing patients with tests and reports quickly, which is important for infection control.
According to the government decision, all public and private hospitals and clinics are requested to ensure the medical care of pregnant and non-pregnant mothers.
Pregnant mothers must be cared for at Covid-19 dedicated hospitals. Pregnant mothers at the new DNCC hospital are requested to be provided with specialized (ICU) arrangements in a corner. Each hospital will adhere to the chain of reference system according to its own capabilities.
All mild corona patients need to continue telemedicine services to ensure treatment at home. At the same time, regular monitoring of telemedicine services needs to be strengthened to ensure quality services.
On Sunday, Bangladesh registered 3,698 new Covid-19 cases and 102 deaths in 24 hours. With the updated data, the death toll in the country stands at 10,385, and the total cases at 718,950.