After taking terrible hassles for a Covid-19 test and then a long wait for the result, Polash Chakrabarty (not a real name) finally got the heartbreaking news after nine days.
The middle-aged man, who works in a non-government organisation branch based in Dhaka's Maniknagar as a senior assistant manager, moved from one hospital to another to have his sample tested to know if he was infected.
His frequent movements did not work as the Mugda General Hospital, a government facility where he went multiple times, failed to provide him with the test results within the promised time.
Meanwhile, he had been undergoing a continuous pressure from his office to take either an unpaid leave or a seek leave but with a Covid-19-positive certificate.
Polash's long journey began in the first week of June when Polash started feeling a mild fever with coughing, symptoms similar to those of the coronavirus.
He took treatment at his home where he lives with his wife and two children.
After a week, he started feeling better. His fever was gone and coughing also stopped.
But when he wanted to join his office, they asked for a medical report that would say he was Covid-19 negative.
So, he went to Mugda General Hospital on June 13 and gave samples for a coronavirus test. The hospital authorities told him that they would send him an SMS with his test results within three days.
Days came and went by but the text notification did not show up on his phone. He decided to go to the hospital again.
On June 16 when Polash went to the hospital, he was surprised as many crowded there as their test results did not arrive on time too.
The hospital authorities assured Polash of the test result by June 18. Sadly, the result did not come this time too.
"My office kept forcing me to take unpaid leave. But I have family expenses and rents to pay next month. How could I take an unpaid leave in this crucial moment?" He said.
Seeing no other hope, he went to LabAid Specialized Hospital on June 20 and gave his sample for the second time spending Tk3,800. LabAid promised him of the result within three days.
"To be sure that someone is no longer infected with Covid-19, they need to be tested negative twice, and here I was getting my life upside down just to know whether I was positive or negative for the last 8 days," he said with the eyes full of agony.
When contacted, Assistant Director of Health Emergency Operation Center and Control Room of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Dr Ayesha Akther said negative result reports sometimes get stuck in queues as they have to prioritise positive test results.
"We try hard to give the positive results within 24 hours, that is why some negative reports might be delayed sometimes," she told The Business Standard.
She also said that they are having troubles due to the lack of manpower as many lab members are currently infected.
Sometimes, the report does not show up in the text because patients do not give the correct contact numbers. Many people give only one number even if they give 5 samples of their family members, Dr Ayesha added.
In that case, the person gets only one test result.
Meanwhile, at the time of filing this report, our correspondent received another phone call from Polash.
"I have been called from DGHS in the afternoon today. They informed me that my test results came positive," Polash said in a broken voice.
He unwillingly went to the hospitals several times under an impression that he would be tested negative since the delay usually occurred with negative test results.
Polash also said that LabAid Hospital also called him today and told him that he was Covid-19 positive.