75 people have recovered from the disease so far including 9 from the last 24 hours
Bangladesh has witnessed seven more deaths from the deadly coronavirus infection in the last 24 hours, taking the number of fatalities to 91 across the country.
Besides, another 312 people tested positive for coronavirus infection over the same period, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 2,456.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque disclosed the latest figures of deaths and infections in an online press briefing at the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in Dhaka on Sunday afternoon.
The minister said nine people recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours, raising the total number of recoveries to 75.
As many as 2,634 samples were tested within the same time frame, which took the total number of tests conducted in the country to 23,825.
Of the seven deceased, five were men. Three and four of them are from Dhaka and Narayanganj respectively— the two big clusters of Covid-19 in the country.
“The number of daily infected cases has been hanging around the 300 mark for the last few days. We would be lucky if the situation does not deteriorate any further. It would be a cause of fear if the number of cases continues to increase,” he remarked.
“Experts are putting emphasis on increasing the number of oxygen cylinders. We have around 10,000 of them in hospitals across the country and have ordered 3,500 more,” he added.
“9 people were placed on ventilators. Among them, 8 have died,” the health minister informed.
Urging everyone concerned to increase sample testing, Maleque said: “If people are tested, we can isolate the patients and provide them with treatment.”
The minister further commented that Bangladesh is in a better situation compared to other countries when time after the first reported infection is considered.
“We are now in the seventh week after the first detection. In the United States and many European countries, the number of infected cases passed the 100,000 mark within that time frame,” he said.
He said several more hospitals have been prepared for providing treatment to Covid-19 patients including Mugda General Hospital, Dhaka Medical College Hospital, and Anwar Khan Modern Hospital.
Additional Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Nasima Sultana, who also joined the briefing, said: “A total of 640 people are currently placed in isolation, including the 52 in the last 24 hours. During the same period, 24 people were released from isolation. 537 people in total have been released from isolation so far.”
“3892 people were home-quarantined, and 497 were sent to institutional quarantine in the last 24 hours,” she informed.
Nasima also commented on the poor health infrastructure of the country.
“Everyone knows about the poor health facility here. What will happen if all the people start coming to the hospitals? We should keep this in mind,” she said.
“So far, more than 1,080,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) have been distributed and more than 350,000 PPEs are in stock right now,” she added.
“2,820,000 people have received services from hotlines while 671,970 people have been screened at the international ports in Bangladesh” Nasima further informed.
The Brahmanbaria incident
Dealing a major blow to the ban on mass gatherings to curb the spread of novel coronavirus, as many as 100,000 people attended the namaz-e-janaza of Maulana Jubayer Ahmed Ansari, a senior leader of Bangladesh Khilafat Majlish, in Sarail upazila.
Maleque condemned the Brahmanbaria administration for their inaction in stopping people from crowding the namaz-e-janaza (funeral prayer).
“The gathering was damaging. We fear that many people could contract the virus from there,” he said.
The minister also urged to stop inter-district movement saying: “Lockdown is not being maintained as we expected. Many people are still leaving Dhaka and Narayanganj and going to other districts. The administration should be stricter to prevent such movements.”
National advisory committee formed
Bangladesh has formed a ‘national technical advisory committee’ to work for the improvement of healthcare services to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
The 17-member committee has been formed to counsel the government about limiting Covid-19 spread, enhancing the services provided in the hospitals, and increasing the capacities of the doctors providing services during the epidemic and the initiatives needed to motivate them, while focusing on the research related to vaccines for the disease.
DGHS issued a notice announcing the panel on Saturday.
The committee is led by Prof Md Shahidullah, a senior neonatologist, while Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director of Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), has been made the member-secretary of the panel.
Notably, the committee is formed 42 days after Bangladesh reported its first case of coronavirus on Mar 8.
Deaths from Covid-19 symptoms
At least five people, including an eight-year-old child, have died after showing Covid-19-like symptoms in five districts of the country between Saturday and Sunday.
Healthcare authorities collected samples from the deceased and sent it to the nearest Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) labs to test for coronavirus infection.
Moreover, local administration placed two more districts—Patuakhali and Manikganj—and Chittagong’s Hathazari upazila under lockdown on Sunday to limit the spread of the highly contagious virus.
The fast-spreading coronavirus, which was first reported in China's Wuhan, has claimed more than 161,000 lives and infected more than 2,358,000 people globally, according to Worldometer.
As many as 606,661 people have recovered from Covid-19, which has spread to 210 countries and territories across the planet.
Additional reporting by Abdullah Alif.