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Govt launches free antigen-based rapid testing in 10 districts

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

Health Minister Zahid Maleque inaugurated the rapid testing through video conferencing from his village home in Manikganj while Health Secretary Abdul Mannan and Director General of the health directorate Prof ABM Khurshid Alam participated in the event from their respective residences.
The government introduced the tests as the temperature has started dropping with arrival of winter.

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

According to the DGHS, the antigen test started 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 started 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.