The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) has set up a testing lab for workers to be tested for coronavirus in Chandra.

The facility can test up to 180 samples per day, with plans to scale up the figure at a later date. 

At a press conference inaugurating the launch, health and family welfare minister, Zahid Maleque, said: "Bangladesh is lagging behind economically due to the Covid epidemic, so all measures have been taken to keep the factory afloat. We hope that as a result of timely testing, it will be possible to bring the workers back to work through proper treatment."

Tipu Munshi, commerce minister for the country added: "BGMEA represents the garments sector. Millions of workers are involved in this work so it is our responsibility to protect them. So, thanks to those who have worked to establish this lab. The more samples are collected, the more it will be detected and the sooner it will be possible to cure it."

Other labs are being planned in Narayanganj and Chittagong, which once up and running, will allow the testing service to be provided to all garment workers.

BGMEA president Dr Rubana Huq said: "The readymade garments sector is the economic backbone of Bangladesh. We cherish any event that has a special role to play in the country's economic prosperity, solidarity and development.

"We are also working to prevent Covid-19 through coordination with the Ministry of Health under the overall direction of the Prime Minister. BGMEA's great initiative in this disaster will play an important role in coping with the disaster.

"Workers are the most important thing to us, so we are working to create regular awareness among workers. Taking care of their health, we have taken a number of steps, such as ensuring the social distance of BGMEA workers and taking full responsibility for their treatment. We have contracted private hospitals and BIRDEM Hospital to provide beds for isolation needs."