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Govt launches free antigen test Saturday

The government launches free antigen test in 10 districts on Saturday for rapid detection of coronavirus, fearing second wave of the disease in the country.

The government has taken the decision as the temperature has started dropping with arrival of winter.

The Health and Family Welfare Ministry will roll out the antigen test for people in 10 districts initially. Later, it will be extended in other districts in phases.

“The antigen test will start in 10 districts from tomorrow (Saturday). The antigen test will be available at hospitals without any cost,” Dr Md Habibur Rahman, director (Management Information System) of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), told that.

In the first phase, the DGHS will start the test in district hospitals where it is necessary.

“We’ll launch the antigen test in 10 other districts in the next week,” he added.

According to the DGHS, the antigen test will start in Sadar hospitals of Panchagarh, Gaibandha, Joypurhat, Patuakhali, Meherpur, Munshiganj, Brahmanbaria, Jashore and Madaripur, and at Shaheed Shamsuddin Ahmed Hospital in Sylhet.

However, though the government is going to start the rapid antigen test to detect coronavirus infections, it has not taken any initiative yet to introduce the antibody test.

DGHS sources said the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 in its meeting held on September 17 advised the government to start the antigen and antibody tests alongside the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

Currently, the coronavirus detection activities are being run through RT-PCR test system at 118 government and private testing centres across the country, including the capital.