The government has allowed three super-specialised private hospitals – Evercare, Square and United – to conduct Covid-19 tests but has not determined the fees.
Additional Director General of Health Directorate Dr Nasima Sultana revealed this at the daily online bulletin on Covid-19 situation on Wednesday.
However, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) will perform tests at the government's fixed rate, she said.
When contacted about the test fees, Dr Nasima declined to answer and said, "Have a look at our press release." She disconnected the phone immediately.
A press release issued by the health directorate in the evening said a maximum Tk3,500 will be needed just for the sample collection. However, it did not mention whether the money covers the whole test.
During the briefing, Nasima revealed the highest number of Covid-19 cases (641) diagnosed in a day in Bangladesh after testing 4,968 samples. Eight deaths were also reported from the virus in the 24 hours till 8 am Wednesday.
The death toll from the deadly virus rose to 163 and the number of total infections stood at 7,103.
Among the dead patients, six were male and two female. Four of them were aged above 60. Six were residents of Dhaka and two lived outside the capital.
Nasima also said that, among the total 163 deaths, 137 are from the Dhaka division.
Eleven patients recovered in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of cured patients to 150.
One-fourth of the total infected patients are receiving treatment at different hospitals of the country while three-fourths are staying home, Nasima said at the briefing.
Sample collection increased by 9.21 percent, compared to the previous day, while PCR testing across the country was reported to have risen by 14.68 percent.
Nasima Sultana said the authorities took 104 new individuals suspected of having Covid-19 into isolation, bringing the total to 1,340 after 833 others left isolation. The country is capable of accommodating 3,635 people for service at 601 isolation wards countrywide.
Now 23 labs are testing Covid-19 samples, most of which are in the capital.
4 garment workers tested positive
Meanwhile, at least four workers from different ready-made garment industries – in Chattogram, Rangpur, Jashore, and Pirojpur – tested positive for the novel coronavirus after they resumed working amid the pandemic.
A BGMEA official however assured that no one will lose their job even if they are infected with the virus.
On Monday, a garment worker from the Chattogram Export Processing Zone was found positive for novel coronavirus. The male worker, 26, hails from Cox's Bazar's Chakaria upazila.
In Rangpur, a supervisor of a sweater-manufacturing unit of Spring Trade Limited in Savar's Zirani area tested positive. The factory shut down its operations immediately.
The authority concerned said the whole factory will be disinfected and regular health monitoring will be maintained. After the factory is reopened, the supervisor's work zone will remain under shutdown.
In Jashore's Chawgachha area, samples of a female worker of Divine Garments Ltd were collected Sunday last and a lab test confirmed her having the disease two days later.
The infected worker's husband also works as a security guard at the same factory. His sample for the novel coronavirus test has not been collected yet.
A worker of Windy Apparels in Savar's Ashulia area tested positive for the novel coronavirus. He recently returned to work from Pirojpur sadar upazila.
Mesbah Uddin, managing director of the factory, said the infected worker did not go to work and was asked to stay under home quarantine. He will be hospitalised within a day.
Meanwhile, an official of the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association said none of the apparel workers should be worried about losing their jobs even if they are infected or have early symptoms of the novel coronavirus.
This is not an unexpected phenomenon, and the factory management will counsel the workers not to hide any information, added the official.
Garment factories were reopened on April 26 – having promised to strictly maintain the health and safety of workers in the fight against Covid-19.