The country is 17th in the world to cross the 200,000 mark
Bangladesh has crossed the grim 200,000 mark of Covid-19 cases in the fifth month since reporting its first cases in mid-March.
The country confirmed a total of 2,02,066 Covid-19 cases with 2,709 people testing positive in the last 24 hours.
Prof Nasima Sultana, Additional Director General (Administration) of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), revealed the latest figures in Dhaka on Saturday afternoon through the daily online bulletin on the Covid-19 situation.
Bangladesh crossed the 200,000 mark within 24 hours of the World Health Organization confirming more than 200 million cases globally.
With the recent development, Bangladesh has turned out to be the 17th country in the world to confirm 200,000 Covid-19 patients in 133 days.
Experts are of the view that reducing the number of tests and imposing fees on tests had lowered the number of confirmed cases as it discouraged people from having tests carried out.
The country detected its first three Covid-19 patients on March 8 and took 30 days to confirm 100 cases, thanks to a lower number of tests at the time.
As the number of tests started to rise, it took 8 days for the country to reach the 1,000 mark. Within 20 days, the country confirmed 10,000 cases while 40,000 cases were confirmed in the subsequent 29 days.
As the country increased its number of tests to fulfil its target of 20,000 tests a day, the next 100,000 cases were identified within 30 days.
The confirmation of the last 50,000 cases took only 16 days.
In Asia, countries such as India, Pakistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia confirmed reaching 200,000 cases between 123 and 126 days.
Globally, only Germany needed 164 days to reach the mark.
When Reuters reported one million new cases in 100 hours globally for the first time, indicating the transmission of coronavirus gaining pace, Bangladesh constantly reported a lower number of new cases daily.
Experts believe that the data produced by the health authorities are not depicting the real situation.
Expressing his frustration, a few days back Associate Professor of Institute of Health Economics Dr Shafiun N Shimul told Dhaka Tribune that confirmed cases were increasing or decreasing in proportion to the number of tests conducted.
DGHS data show that when the number of tests increases, the number of confirmed cases also rises, while a decrease in test numbers results in a lower number of cases, he added.
Former IEDCR director Be-Nazir Ahmed said strictly implementing rules to test only symptomatic patients is providing the same result for lower tests, but it would be much useful if there were more tests, including on asymptomatic patients.
It would help the authorities to understand better the situation in the country, he added.
Since May 21, the country has been seeing 20% of the tests getting positive results most of the days. For only 4 days Bangladesh has had a lower than 20% test positivity rate.
The NIPSOM professor said after the imposition of a lockdown in East Rajabazar, the number of Covid-19 patients went almost double in that area. In Wari there were news reports of 90% people testing positive.
It conveyed a sense that a good number of people remained under the radar. Besides, there were many asymptomatic patients as well, he said.
“It can be assumed that the infection rate in the country is still high and we need to implement preventive measures along with strict isolation measures to bring the situation under control before it causes further disaster,” the infectious diseases expert opined.