In barely 24 hours, the number of samples tested to detect coronavirus or Covid-19 in Bangladesh has declined by more than 50 percent, only to confirm no fresh cases and deaths from the disease.
Over the same period until Saturday (Mar 28) noon, only 47 samples were tested by the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) and the Bangladesh Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases (BITID).
However, the number of tests conducted over the same time period, till 10am on Friday (Mar 27), was 225.53% higher (107 tests) than Saturday's count.
The drastic fall in testing samples collected from suspected Covid-19 patients occurred amid news reports of a massive shortage of testing kits in the country.
In an online media briefing on Saturday, IEDCR Director Meerjady Sabrina Flora said they tested 42 of the total number of samples, with Bangladesh Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases (BITID) in Chittagong dealing with the remaining samples.
Between Mar 7 and Mar 28, some 1,068 samples were tested by the IEDCR alone, at an average of 48.55 samples a day.
The Chittagong-based BIDIT, which started the testing on Thursday (Mar 26), tested eight samples in two days.
During the briefing, Flora also said the update implied that the number of total coronavirus patients in the country remained static with 48 confirmed cases as yet.
47 in isolation; 28,423 in quarantine
Another four patients have recovered, taking the number of those who are now free from the Covid-19 infection to 15, the IEDCR said, adding, 47 people are in isolation while 28,423 others are in quarantine.
Bangladesh has so far confirmed five deaths from Covid-19, and reported the first three Covid-19 positive cases on Mar 8.
Recovered patients require 16-day hospitalization
Narrating the physical contrition of those recovered, the IEDCR Director Flora said the patients -- nine males and six females -- who are between 2 and 54 years old, were treated for a maximum of 16 days in hospital.
“In most cases, they were treated according to their symptoms. One of them had kidney ailments and was given dialysis alongside other necessary treatment for his recovery,” she added.
Five more institutes ready for Covid-19 detection
Other than the IEDCR and BIDIT, the only two entities doing the tests, another five institutes are operationally ready for the detection of coronavirus using polymerase chain reaction testing, also known as PCR.
The institutes are the Institute of Public Health, National Institute for Laboratory Medicine, icddr’b, Child Health Research Foundation (CHRF) of Dhaka Shishu Hospital, and the Institute for Developing Science and Health Initiatives.
The CHRF is supposed to start testing from today, sources said.
Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology and Kurmitola General Hospital, are being readied for testing.