The Barishal district unit of Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal (Basad) on Tuesday brought out a protest rally in the city, demanding that the fee imposed on coronavirus test be withdrawn.
The procession that started at 11 am from in front of its party office on Fakir Bari Road ended in front of Ashwini Kumar Hall in the city on Sadar Road after parading different thoroughfares.
"The Covid-19 pandemic is spreading alarmingly across the country. In this situation, the government has officially charged a fee for testing samples of coronavirus," Engineer Imran Habib Rumman, Basad's district convener, said while speaking at the rally.
"Countries that have been able to curb coronavirus transmission have had free door-to-door collection and testing facilities. But our government is moving to the opposite direction," he added.
Rumman also said, "Mismanagement and plunder are going on in the health sector. The country's health system is on the verge of collapse today. Like in the rest of the country, Barishal has a shortage of PCR labs and coronavirus testing kits."
"We demand an immediate withdrawal of the fee for testing coronavirus samples and proper treatment of patients," he further added.
The government on Monday issued a circular on Covid-19 test fees where patients will have to pay Tk200 per test if they visit the nearby kiosks to give samples.
Some Tk500 per test will be taken if samples are given from home and patients staying at hospitals will have to pay Tk200 per test, according to the issued notice.
At present, Covid-19 test is being done in 66 labs across the country. Of them, 48 are public and 18 are private. Government labs are performing tests of about 90 percent of the samples every day.