5 more die in Bangladesh, 41 new patients detected
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the country may face a massive hike in Covid-19 cases in the coming days of April, considering the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus trend across the world.
“We have got some reports, which say there will be a massive rise in Bangladesh. But do not be worried, as we are prepared to overcome the crisis,” the prime minister said on Tuesday.
She made the announcement on a videoconference with public representatives and officials of 15 districts of the Chittagong and Sylhet divisions, regarding the present coronavirus situation in the country.
The videoconference, which aired live on state and public television, began around 10:05am.
The prime minister also warned of strict action against any doctors who were still shirking their duties after the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) by the government, as well as against any officials involved in the misappropriation of relief items and funds.
On March 26, the government initiated a countrywide shutdown of all activities, except essential services, from March 26 till April 4 in order to enforce social distancing, a strategy crucial for slowing the spread of Covid-19. The shutdown was later extended twice to April 14.
At the same time, all public transport and domestic and international flights remain suspended due to the pandemic. The government also suspended holding mass prayers at mosques and other places of worship until further notice.
Also, 41 more people tested positive with Covid-19 in Bangladesh on Tuesday, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 164. Five more people died, taking the death toll to 17.
Of the 164 infected, 33 have recovered so far.
Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Director, Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, announced the figures during an online health bulletin on Tuesday.
Narayanganj has been added to Dhaka as a new cluster of coronavirus, she added.
“Of the 41 newly infected patients, 20 are in Dhaka and 15 are in Narayanganj,” the IEDCR director said.
She also said that of the five deceased, four were male and one was female. Two were above the age of sixty, two were 50 to 60 years old, and the other was between 40 and 50 years of age.
Of the 41 Covid-19 positive cases, four are below 20 years old and 33 are between the ages of 20 to 60. Only five patients are above 60.
The Covid-19 infection, which was first reported in Bangladesh on March 8, has now spread to 15 districts, according to data compiled by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
The daily testing rate remained below 100 per day till March 25, a day before the government imposed a shutdown to encourage people to stay home in order to fight the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus which causes Covid-19.
The DGHS increased the volume of testing from the end of last week and continues to find higher numbers of positive cases each day.
On Tuesday, health authorities tested 792 samples, almost double from the previous day, to confirm the 41 new cases.
Till now, Bangladesh has tested samples from 4,402 suspected Covid-19 patients. Of the 164 who tested positive for the coronavirus, 63 have returned home following recovery, and 101 are still undergoing treatment.
The fast spreading coronavirus has claimed 73,824 lives and infected 1,329,303 people worldwide till date, according to Worldometers. Around 293,454 people have recovered thus far.
DGHS suspends QA sessions during online briefings
The DGHS on Tuesday suspended question-answer sessions and discussions during online briefings on Covid-19.
DGHS Director General Dr Abul Kalam Azad also said the online media briefings have been converted to a health bulletin to be aired every day at 2.30 pm.
“We have taken the decision after discussions with policy makers and journalists,” he added.
“We will try to share all the necessary information in the health bulletin and we will share more information through press releases. Journalists can contact officials concerned for further information,” the DGHS DG further said.
Lockdowns called as 5 die with coronavirus like symptoms across the country
In addition to the five new Covid-19 deaths, at least five people died with symptoms similar to that of Covid-19 in five districts of the country on Monday night and on Tuesday. As a result, the local administration has called lockdowns in the respective areas as a precautionary measure.
The deceased include a 70 year old man in Gazipur, a woman in Khulna, a 55 year old old man in Lakshmipur, a 40 year old man in Netrokona, and an elderly man in Chapainawabganj.
The local administration has also called lockdowns in Tangail and Chuadanga to stem the tide of Covid-19.