A test lab has been set up for garment workers in Bangladesh that can test up to 180 samples a day for COVID-19 infections – with another two laboratories also expected to open soon to further expand testing capacities.
The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) and the Diabetic Association of Bangladesh launched the facility in an effort limit the spread of the coronavirus in the garment industry, which makes up over 80% of all exports in the nation.
“(We) need data on COVID-19,” says Rubana Huq, president of the BGMEA, to the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “So if workers or factories register through us, we can adopt an industry-wide practice of precaution and isolation.”
Around 4 million workers in Bangladesh produce clothes for fashion brands across the globe. Although hygienic and social distancing rules are already in place since factories reopened in April, testing labs can help ensure workers self-isolate if they test positive in order to avoid affecting others around them.