Two more people died of COVID-19 and nine more tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Bangladesh in 24 hours till Saturday 8:00am.
With the latest figures, the government has so far reported eight deaths from coronavirus raising the number of people infected with coronavirus to 70.
The Directorate General of Health Services in an online press conference revealed the information saying that two of the newly infected persons’ source of infection could not be established.
‘We are yet to measure the actual situation of community transmission,’ said DGHS director general Abul Kalam Azad at the press conference.
‘Our number of tests is still small but we admit that community transmission is occurring, but our belief is that community transmission still occurring on a limited scale,’ he said.
‘We have started widespread testing of people showing symptoms similar to that of COVID-19 to determine the prevalence,’ he said.
According to the World Health Organisation definition, community transmission of the novel coronavirus ‘is evidenced by the inability to relate confirmed cases through chains of transmission for a large number of cases, or by increasing tests through sentinel samples (routine systematic testing of respiratory samples from established laboratories)’.
With two new COVID-19 deaths, so far the source of infections in 14 cases, or 20 per cent of the total infections, could not be established, meaning that they contacted the virus from communities without known relation with infected persons.
Bangladesh on March 8 announced the first incident of coronavirus infection and the first death from the virus on March 18.
The identification of positive coronavirus patients having no known source of infections is increasing day by day.
On Friday, five patients were detected and the sources of infections of all of the five were unknown.
Earlier, seven people were found to have been infected from unknown sources, two of whom have already died and Saturday’s two cases increased the rate of infections from unknown sources to 14 or 20 per cent of the total number of patients.
Professor Nazrul Islam, a virologist and former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, said, ‘We have elapsed a lot of time before taking appropriate measures to prevent community transmission.’
‘Now we do not have much time in our hand to contain the spread of the virus,’ he said.
‘But we must continue testing increased number of people and isolate them after detection,’ he added.
Nazrul suggested that the authority should identify the trend of infections to ensure clustering of the communities.
Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research director Meerjady Sabrina Flora said at the press conference that among the new nine patients, five were infected locally, or they came in contact with known infected persons who had no history of travelling abroad.
Two other had travel history abroad while the source of infection in two others could not be established.
Among the infected, two are children below 10, three are in their 30s, two are in 50s, one in 60s and another in 90s.
The 90-year-old died today, said Sabrina, adding another patient, aged 68, who had been identified earlier, died today.
One of the new deceased had a history of heart disease while the other had suffered a brain stroke.
Meerjady also said that 14 more or 30 in total recovered from their infections.
Currently, 32 were under treatment, 20 in hospitals and 12 at their homes, she said.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday ordered testing of at least 1,000 samples per day amid the outcry on the account of not testing an adequate number people.
DGHS director general Abul Kalam Azad said that in the past 24 hours, 553 samples of were collected across the country and 434 of them were tested during the time.
IEDCR, which had been the only testing authority of COVID-19 until the past week, collected 136 samples.
Testing facilities have been decentralised to nine other labs in the capital and five in districts — Chattogram, Rajshahi, Rangpur, Mymensingh and Cox’s Bazar.
Azad said that the testing facilities would be installed at other divisional cities such as Khulna, Sylhet and Barishal within a short time.
Meanwhile, a patient in her seventies died in the coronavirus isolation ward of Dhaka Medical College Hospital on Saturday evening.
She had been suffering from kidney disease and respiratory infection, doctors said.
The patient was admitted to the hospital on Saturday morning and was sent immediately to the isolation ward. Her samples were collected for testing to confirm whether she had COVID-19, said the doctors.
In another development, several buildings at Mirpur-11 in the capital were placed under lockdown as an elderly patient died with coronavirus infection there, said Pallabi police officer-in-charge Nazrul Islam.
DGHS or the IEDCR officials did not confirm if the deceased was one of the two who died with COVID-19, announced earlier on the day.
The victim’s family members were in mandatory home quarantine. The deceased was buried at Khilgoan-Taltola graveyard on Friday, the police officer said.
Deaths of five more people with symptoms of COVID-19 were also reported from Jhenaidah, Narayanganj, Chandpur, Natore and Bogura.
The families and neighbours of the dead were put in home quarantine, local police said, but their deaths from COVID-19 could not be confirmed by the IEDCR or DGHS.
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