• Tuesday, Dec 01, 2020
  • Last Update : 08:40 am

Coronavirus: Bangladesh prepares for the worst of the pandemic

  • Published at 10:39 pm April 29th, 2020
Covid_Dhaka_Zakir
Photo: Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Recovery rate is quite literally moving towards the opposite direction of the increasing number of cases and deaths

Since the first detection on March 8 in the country, Bangladesh had recorded a total of 56 deaths by the seventh week, from April 19 to 25, of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

This sharp rise in the number of coronavirus casualties within the span of only seven days was nearly 28 times more than the data of the second week when the country’s first coronavirus deaths were reported. 

Meanwhile, halfway through the eighth week of the outbreak, things are not looking very promising when it comes to which side is winning the fight between mankind and Covid-19. 

On Wednesday, the country saw its highest single-day increase in Covid-19 cases with 641 more people testing positive. Also, eight more died in the last 24 hours from the deadly virus. 

Moreover, since Sunday, during the first four days of week number eight of the coronavirus crisis, authorities recorded a total of 23 deaths and 2,105 fresh cases.  

With the latest development, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at 7,103 with 163 deaths.

On April 21, Dr Abul Kalam Azad, director-general of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), said that they fear the number of Covid-19 cases might reach 100,000 by the end of May if things do not improve.

Echoing the same, health experts, in order to curb the countrywide steep rise of infections, have suggested the government enforce strict lockdown at least for a week from now onwards.

Prof ABM Abdullah, personal physician of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said: “I think we will get a better picture of the ongoing situation in a week. 

“Till then, the authorities need to enforce strict lockdown and people will have to abide by that.”

Dr Nirupam Das, the chief administrator of Bangladesh Doctors Foundation (BDF), a forum of physicians, told Dhaka Tribune: “Enforcing lockdown is a key to tackle the pandemic. Either enforce lockdown or test more samples.”

Tests, deaths and very low recovery rate 

Meanwhile, Additional Director General of DGHS Nasima Sultana, while addressing the press on Wednesday's health bulletin, said: “A total of 4,968 samples were tested in the past 24 hours, of which 641 came out positive. 

“The testing rate has increased by 14.68% than that of Tuesday’s.”

“A total of 7,606 samples were collected in the last 24 hours taking the total number of samples collected so far to 69,701,” she added.

If we assess the data provided by the government, we can see that Bangladesh, in its first four weeks recorded only eight death caused by the virus.

But in the fifth week alone, there were 22 Covid-19 deaths reported across the country. 

Whereas, during the sixth week, from April 12 to April 18, of the pandemic, a staggering 54 people lost their lives to the virus and this clearly reflects the exponential rise in Covid-19 casualties in the country.

The analysis above shows how Bangladesh recorded the highest number of deaths in only 53 days since the first detection when compared to the other South Asian countries. So far, a total of 163 people have died of Covid-19 across the country.  

The number of confirmed cases has also seen very rapid growth since the fifth week, from April 5 to April 11, as Bangladesh recorded a total of 412 cases in the span of seven days whereas in the fourth week it was only 22.

But one also needs to take into consideration the number of tests conducted against the number of positive cases found during this period.

Adding to the misery, the recovery rate of patients is quite literally moving towards the opposite direction of the increasing number of Covid-19 infections and deaths. 

As of April 29, Bangladesh is the worst-hit country amongst its South Asian neighbours when it comes to the recovery rate of patients, as it stands at a mere 2.11%.

Addressing the issue, Nasima Sultana, on multiple occasions, said that the actual number of recovered cases is still unknown as they do not have the record of recovered patients except for those who were admitted in hospitals for treatment.

According to DGHS data, till April 26, a total of 5,149 people have or are undergoing treatment for coronavirus in different hospitals across the country.

Most deaths in Dhaka division, private hospitals to start testing

Nasima Sultana, in the daily Covid-19 briefing, also informed that Dhaka division has the highest death rate in the country. 

“Out of the 163 people who died from Covid-19 so far, 137 were residents of Dhaka division. And of those who died in the last 24 hours,  a total of six were from Dhaka.”

“Of the eight who died in the past 24 hours six were males and two females. Of them four were in their 60s, two were aged between 50 and 60, and the other two were between 31 and 40,” she added.

The DGHS additional director general also informed that three private hospitals -- Square Hospital, Ever Care Hospital and United Hospital – alongside the government entities will conduct Covid-19 tests from now onwards. 

“However, the aforementioned institutes will only be allowed to test samples from the patients admitted in their hospitals at a rate set by the government,” she said.

She also said that a new lab named “Gazi Covid PCR Lab” has been set up in Rupganj, Narayanganj, to increase the testing facility in one of the Covid-19 hotspots of the country. 

She said that only 1% Covid-19 patients have so far been hospitalized and the rest are receiving treatment at their respective homes. 

“A total of 2,412 people are under home quarantine and 132 have been put under institutional quarantine in the last 24 hours,” she added.

The DGHS official also told the press that a total of 60,402 PPEs have been collected and at least 22,402 have been distributed in the last 24 hours.

She advised all also to take good care of their mental health amid the ongoing shutdown.

“Maintaining good practices such as drinking warm water and avoiding deep-fried foods are important but mental health is another important thing that needs to be taken care of. Make sure the children and teenagers at your home are not in distress,” she said. 

The fast-spreading coronavirus, which was first reported in China’s Wuhan, has claimed more than 219,000 lives and infected more than 3,166,000 people globally, according to Worldometer.

As many as 976,140 people have recovered from Covid-19, which has spread to 210 countries and territories across the world.

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