Border control urged against India variant

37 more die of Covid-19

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:35, May 07,2021


The country’s Covid situation is feared to worsen in the coming days as people in large numbers are coming out of home, thronging markets and malls and making inter-district trips despite the ban on such movement.

On Friday the positivity rate increased to 9.89 per cent from 8.44 per the day before, which was below 9 per cent in the past four consecutive days.

The Directorate General of Health Services said that 37 more people succumbed to Covid-19 and 1,682 others tested positive for the disease in the past 24-hour period till 8:00am Friday.

During the period, 17,013 samples were tested across the country and 9.89 per cent of them were found Covid positive, it said.

With the new figures, the country’s Covid death toll has reached 11,833 and the number of cases 7,70,842.

Health experts said that the positivity rate would rise further as people were now recklessly moving around and the fresh higher rates could be reported after Eid.

‘What we are now witnessing at markets, shopping malls and on roads is frightening. Infections would rise further after Eid due to the mass movement,’ said virologist Nazrul Islam.

He noted that while people were not abiding by the health rules during their outdoor movement the government was also reluctant to enforce the restrictions.

‘The authorities have allowed everything — they have loosened the restrictions, permitted the markets and shopping malls to reopen and public transports to resume operation without following health rules,’ he said.

‘It was not expected…Lockdown should be lockdown. It should not be a half-hearted measure,’ said Nazrul, a former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.

Another concern is the Indian variant, reportedly more fatal and contagious, which might spread during Eid, he apprehended.

The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research has said that they have found no cases with Indian variant, mentioned virologist Nazrul, adding that the variant might have entered the country due to the continuous entry of people from the bordering country.

Nepal, another country having borders with India, has been witnessing a massive surge in cases for days due to the invasion of the Indian variant in that country.

The Nepalese and international media reported that the country had seen a very quick rise in Covid cases and deaths with the positivity rate reaching almost 50 per cent over the last few days.

Nazrul said that the border should be properly monitored and anyone entering the country should be properly quarantined.

Health minister Zahid Maleque on Thursday warned that the positivity rate might increase further due to the mass movement of people in recent days.

‘We are afraid that the positivity rate will rise further. The situation could be understood after Eid,’ he said while speaking at a virtual meeting on Thursday.

The minister said that the country had no shortage of oxygen for treating Covid patients and even if there was a surge in cases, causing a third wave of infections, the existing capacity of oxygen would be adequate.

He requested people again to follow the health guidelines and abide by the ongoing restrictions on movement to keep the Covid situation under control.

The country witnessed a spike in Covid cases, deaths and positivity rate from the beginning of March this year till the past week following a comparatively better situation during January-February.

The positivity rate went above 23 per cent in the first week of April but the rate had then continued to drop since April 17.

For a few days the positivity rate remained below 9 per cent before rising to 9.89 per cent on Friday.

In January-February, the positivity rate was between 2.5 per cent and 5 per cent.

The government on Wednesday extended the ongoing restrictions on public movement and activities until May 16.

It started the restrictions on April 5 as the situation deteriorated but large numbers of people have been ignoring the restrictions since almost the beginning of the restrictions.

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