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Dhaka Tribune

ED: Antigen testing is crucial at this juncture

Antigen testing is certainly one of our best options to combat increasing infection rates

Update : 03 Dec 2020, 11:21 PM

With the onset of winter predicted to result in a second Covid-19 wave, news of the Directorate of Health Services (DGHS) finally beginning rapid antigen testing is reassuring. 

Starting next week, on December 5, these much-awaited tests will be conducted in ten bordering districts that have been experiencing spikes in infection rates. While it is imperative that those infected be identified, that alone is unlikely to be enough. It must also be ensured that subsequent steps, such as contract tracing and isolating those who test positive for the virus, are followed through. 

Antigen testing is certainly one of our best options to combat increasing infection rates, as it is both low-cost and much less time-consuming than other tests. This makes it significantly more accessible to a majority of the population. 

However, Professor Dr Nasima Sultana, additional director (admin) of the DGHS, has stated that a daily target for testing has not yet been set, and that only those with symptoms will be tested. This is cause for some alarm, as a significant strain of the virus results in no symptoms in those infected, but is contagious all the same. 

Despite this, the first step towards beginning antigen testing is still a welcome one. It will be important to steadily continue and ramp up efforts as time goes by. In the meantime, it is crucial that we follow other health directives and preventive measures in addition to testing, so that the fight against the coronavirus remains fortified on all fronts.

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