Bangladesh trails China in COVID-19 infection 

45 die, 3,171 new cases in 24 hours | Bangladesh now 20th worst-hit country

Manzur H Maswood | Published: 14:51, Jun 09,2020 | Updated: 10:13, Jun 10,2020


Bangladesh broke the daily COVID-19 death record on Tuesday for three days in a row and also logged record infections on the day, climbing to the 20th position among the worst coronavirus-suffering countries in the world.

Bangladesh is now trailing China where the virus was found more than two  months before Bangladesh.

‘In the past 24 hours, we tested 14,664 samples and detected 3,171 of them COVID-19 positive while 45 more people died of the disease during the time,’ said Nasima Sultana, additional director general of the Directorate General of Health Services, in the daily online COVID-19 bulletin.

With the latest tally, the coronavirus death toll in the country has hit 975 and the infections reached 71,675, she said.

So far 83,043 people have been infected in China where the novel virus emerged late December and experts then knew little about the microbe and initially failed to contain the spread of the infection.

Bangladesh confirmed its first three COVID-19 infections on March 8, over two months later than China.

Bangladesh’s Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research consultant Mushtaq Husain said that they were now unable to predict the course of the COVID-19 infections, such as where the country is heading and when the infections will reach its peak.

‘The IEDCR is failing to predict the course of COVID-19 as the infection rate is not stable,’ he said.

‘Developing a model for prediction without a stable trend of infections is epidemiologically not possible,’ he added.

Mushtaq cautioned that the infection rate would continue to soar unless an effective intervention could be found.

The COVID-19 infection rate in Bangladesh, he pointed out, was stable before May 10 when the government lockdown was in force.

‘We have the evidence that the countries which have so far succeeded in containing the infections actually did take strict measures,’ he said.

Currently the rate of COVID-19 infections in Bangladesh is above 21 per cent, which was 15 per cent before the government lifted the restrictions on the public life on May 31.

On Tuesday too, the rate of infections was above 21 per cent.

The deaths and infections on Tuesday, the 94th day since the first detection of COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh, were the daily highest.

Mushtaq said that they would observe for two weeks if the zoning of different areas — as red, yellow or green — in terms of case severity became effective in controlling the situation.

‘Or else, we will have to think about other measures,’ he said.

Virologist Nazrul Islam reasserted that the lifting of restrictions on the public life from May 31 was a wrong decision as the experts’ opinion against the reopening proved correct.

‘But the government did not pay heed to the opinion of the National Technical Advisory Committee on COVID-19,’ said Nazrul, a member of the NTAC and a former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.

Noted public health expert Rashid-e-Mahbub, also a former president of Bangladesh Medical Association and a former BSMMU pro vice-chancellor, was among those vocal against easing the lockdown.

He warned that the country was heading towards a catastrophic situation as the patients could not be accommodated in the hospitals.

COVID-19 patients are now dying at home and are being brought dead to hospitals.

Since May 17, at least 97 COVID-19 patients have died at home or have been brought dead to hospitals, according to the DGHS.

Desperate patients and their relatives are now stockpiling medicines and oxygen cylinders at home to face the worst-possible situations.

While speaking on Tuesday’s bulletin, Nasima Sultana, too, said that people were now stockpiling oxygen cylinders at home, as oxygen was required for critical COVID-19 patients.

‘But,’ she urged people, ‘please don’t stockpile oxygen cylinders as you can’t provide the oxygen support to the patient without doctor’s recommendation.’

‘The stockpiling of oxygen cylinders will put pressure on the market and deprive the hospitalised patients of the lifesaving element,’ she said.

Nasima disclosed that 7,893 suspected COVID-19 patients were in isolation on Tuesday and 777 more people were declared recovered as they did not show symptoms of the disease now.

So far, 15,336 patients have been declared recovered.

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