Zeddar Hossain, 55, resident of the capital's Dhanmondi area, had suffered from a sore throat for ten days.
He gradually started exhibiting other novel-coronavirus-like symptoms – including fever, cough and respiratory problems – so his family members decided to get him tested for Covid-19.
However, it took two days for his daughter Jemmy to reach the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) via its hotline numbers.
On Thursday, the IEDCR authorities told her that they would not collect samples for now as they were busy collecting samples from those who had contacted them before. So, they had to wait for a week.
As Zeddar's physical condition continued to deteriorate, his family took him to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University where they were told that the hospital had run out of the 250 testing kits allocated for the day.
Later, they contacted Shahid Suhrawardy Hospital – which also disappointed them with no availability of testing kits.
On Friday, when Zeddar's condition further deteriorated, with the recommendation of a doctor known to them, Jemmy took her father to the Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Hospital for him to be administered supplemental oxygen.
She had to wait three hours, from 11 am to 1 pm, at the hospital's reception to take her father to the fifth floor to get him oxygen.
Jemmy told The Business Standard that the hospital authorities will collect samples from her father for novel-coronavirus-testing after giving him oxygen.
Like Jemmy's father, many people are jumping over hurdles to have tests done for Covid-19. On many occasions, it is taking a week to get test results, causing a delay in receiving treatment.
Meanwhile, non-Covid-19 hospitals are reluctant to admit patients who test negative, adding to their suffering.
Another patient, Tamim Hossain, resident of Mirpur, has not been tested for Covid-19. His elder sister is a coronavirus patient. They live in the same house. The IEDCR has not yet collected samples from him even two days after he contacted it with fever and a sore throat.
People are thronging to the BSMMU or Shahid Suhrawardy Hospital for Covid 19 tests – with no response from the IEDCR even after contacting its hotline numbers.
The hospitals are not performing tests on account of a shortage of testing kits.
Uttam Kumar Barua, director at Shahid Suhrawardy Hospital, told The Business Standard, "We only collect samples from suspected cases. The samples we collect here are tested at the Shishu Hospital. We cannot perform tests because of a shortage of testing kits. We get 50 kits against the demand of around 100. So, many return every day without being tested."
"Novel coronavirus testing has remained stopped at the hospital since April 23," he added.
BSMMU Professor Sayedur Rahman, assistant said, "Every day, more than 450 people come for testing but we can perform tests on only 250 of them. We cannot do more with two PCR machines. We are trying to install another machine. If it is done, it will be possible to test 93 more people. However, this will still be very inadequate against the demand."
According to the health directorate, now the country's 21 labs perform novel coronavirus testing. On April 24, exactly 503 new cases of coronavirus infection were detected after testing 3,686 samples. The number of total positive cases has so far reached 4,659. The health directorate has collected 39,776 samples till date.
Till April 11, the health directorate had 71,000 testing kits, according to a press release. However, the number of tests they have right now is unknown.