Bangladesh worst coronavirus fighter in region

Manzur H Maswood | Published: 23:34, May 29,2020 | Updated: 21:22, May 31,2020


Bangladesh stood the worst COVID-19 fighter among the South Asian countries while passing the 83rd day on Friday since the detection of the first novel coronavirus infections in the country.

Among the countries of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, Bangladesh is at the bottom in terms of the number of COVID-19 tests done per million population.

Again, in terms of each confirmed case per number of tests carried out, Bangladesh is the worst performer in the region with each confirmed case against six tests done.

Bangladesh is also among the top three COVID-19-burdened nations in the region, with India being at the top of the list of infections and deaths (165,829 infections and 4,713 deaths), Pakistan the second (64,028 infections and 1,317 deaths) while Bangladesh is in the third position (42,844 infections and 582 deaths).

These three countries are at the bottom among the eight countries in terms of COVID-19 tests per million population, with India conducting 2,527 tests per million, Pakistan 2,359 tests per million and Bangladesh 1,745 tests per million thus being at the bottom among the bottom three countries, according to the statistics of the

Bhutan, a popular tourist destination in the region, is at the top in respect of tests per million population (21,467) and also has the lowest number of cases (31 cases so far) while it suffered no deaths from COVID-19.

Vietnam boasts 2,828 tests per million population and is the second least-affected country with 327 cases and no deaths.

Nepal, another popular country for tourists, with 5,595 tests per million, is the third least-affected country by COVID-19 with 1,042 cases and five deaths.

Sri Lanka is another country that has suffered less from the novel coronavirus with 1,530 cases and 10 deaths while its rate of tests per million population is 2,844 — higher than India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Thailand’s rate of tests per million population is 5,380 and it has so far recorded 3,076 cases and 57 deaths.

In terms of each confirmed case per tests, Bangladesh is the worst performer, with each case identified per six samples tested.

Pakistan and India’s rates of confirmed cases per tests carried out are at the bottom in the region, but above Bangladesh.

In Pakistan, each case is confirmed per eight samples while it is per 21 tests in India.

Vietnam (each confirmed case per 840 tests), Bhutan (per 533 tests), Nepal (per 156 tests) and Thailand (per 122 tests) are the good-performing countries to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak.

Despite health minister Zahid Maleque’s repeated claims at public programmes that Bangladesh was doing better than the USA and the European countries in terms of cases and deaths, the country’s performance among the neighboring and South Asian countries go against his feeling of satisfaction.

Almost every day, Bangladesh is recording more COVID-19 patients than the previous day.

On Friday the country registered 2,523 cases and 23 deaths, taking the total infections to 42,844 and total deaths to 582.

With the growing number of detected cases, the average daily tests in the ongoing 12th week (six days so far) of infections are 8,732.

In the 11th week of infections, there were 67,381 tests with the daily average of 9,625 tests, 50,375 tests in 10th week with the daily average of 7,196 tests, 40,853 tests in the ninth week with the daily average of 5,837 tests, 32,953 tests in the eighth week with the daily average of 4,707 tests, 21,922 tests in the seventh week with the daily average of 3,131 tests.

There were 12,878 tests in the sixth week with the daily average of 1,839 tests, 5,766 tests in the fifth week with the daily average of 823 tests, 1,471 tests in the fourth week with the daily average of 210 tests, 607 in the third week with the daily average of 86 tests, 258 tests in the second week with the daily average of 38 tests and 91 tests in the first week with the daily average of 13 tests.

Bangladesh confirmed its first three COVID-19 cases on March 8 after testing 120 samples from January 21.

Experts said that Bangladesh delayed the start of conducting large number of tests, although widespread testing had been recommended by the World Health Organisation to identify patients and isolate them to prevent the spread of the highly contagious novel coronavirus.

The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research was the only testing agency until late March and now the number of labs has been increased to 49.

Virologist and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University’s former vice-chancellor Nazrul Islam said that the tests of small numbers of samples could not give the picture about the actual COVID-19 situation.

He said that the infection had already spread everywhere in the country and only a handful of patients were being diagnosed every day.

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