The northern and southwestern regions emerge as Covid hotspots
As the daily infection rate keeps mounting in Khulna and Rajshahi, the authorities concerned have put the two districts into another phase of lockdown.
In the latest move, the district administration in Khulna on Friday afternoon extended the restrictions on public gathering and movement by another week from 5pm.
Earlier, the administration on Thursday night imposed an all-out lockdown in the Rajshahi metropolitan area for a week, which too came into effect at 5pm yesterday.
But passenger train services from and to Rajshahi were suspended for the next three days.
Confirming the matter, Bangladesh Railway Additional Director General (operations) Sardar Sahadat Ali said that the authorities will later assess the situation and decide if the suspension needs to be extended.
Khulna division logged the highest infection rate (34.65%) in the past 24 hours till yesterday morning, followed by Rajshahi division’s 17.31%.
In reverse, Rajshahi division topped the list of daily caseloads with 682 new cases, while Khulna division became second most affected with 599 new cases.
Bangladesh yesterday logged 43 more Covid-19 deaths. Of them, 11 died in Rajshahi division, 10 in Chittagong, eight in Dhaka, seven in Khulna, four in Rangpur, two in Barisal and one in Mymensingh.
What did Rajshahi authorities say?
Talking to reporters after a meeting on the Covid-19 situation in the district, Rajshahi Divisional Commissioner Dr Humayun Kabir said: “We analyzed the trend of new cases for the past few days and found that the daily infection rate is on the rise.”
Asked why the lockdown starts at 5pm, he said the time has been chosen so the outsiders could leave the city by then.
Shops, malls and restaurants will be closed during the lockdown, but dispensaries and emergency service providers would be allowed to operate.
Public transport will not be allowed to ply on the city streets. However, vehicles carrying foods, goods and emergency products will remain out of the purview of the lockdown.
Lockdown likely to continue in Rajshahi?
Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (RMCH) Director Brig Gen Dr Shamim Yazdani said the situation is yet not uncontrollable.
“But everybody needs to be careful and there is no alternative to that. Since the Indian variant is spreading widely, it would be wiser to extend the fresh spate of lockdown,” he opined.
Rajshahi Additional Deputy Commissioner Md Sariful Haq said they would take a decision whether to extend the lockdown after analysing the situation. He, too, urged the people to assist them in properly implementing the lockdown.
Situation at RMCH
Against 271 beds for Covid-19 patients at different wards of the hospital, 297 were being treated as of yesterday.
In the past 24 hours till yesterday morning, another 15 people died of coronavirus there, taking the overall tally to 157 since May 24.
Khulna officials’ take
The District Committee on Coronavirus Prevention in a meeting yesterday afternoon decided to extend the previous weeklong lockdown ending on Thursday.
Earlier, four upazilas of the district were brought under strict lockdown on June 4.
According to the latest decision, pharmacies and kitchen markets will operate as usual while shops, markets and restaurants will remain open from 9am to 5pm till June 18.
The committee banned unnecessary movement of the people, but allowed battery-run easy bikes to ply on the streets with half their capacity during the lockdown.
Khulna City Corporation Mayor Talukder Abdul Khalek said they imposed the lockdown as the previous restrictions had not been effective.
“If the entire district is not put under lockdown, it won’t be possible to stop the upward trend of new cases,” he said, urging the police to be stricter against the people for flouting the restrictions and health guidelines.
The meeting also decided to transform Khulna Sadar Hospital into a Covid-dedicated facility.
Currently, a 100-bed dedicated hospital is operating at Khulna Medical College Hospital (KMCH) for the Covid patients, where 130 patients are admitted now.
Khulna division has been registering higher infection rates for the past few days, with nearly 200 patients reported dead in the district alone as yet.
On Thursday, the KMCH authorities told Dhaka Tribune that they had written to the higher authorities for more doctors and staff.
Meanwhile, an oxygen plant is being built at the hospital to prevent a possible crisis in the future. The plant is expected to start functioning next week.
Khulna Covid-19 Hospital scrambles for space as patients soar
The authorities of Khulna Dedicated Corona Hospital have been scrambling to treat Covid-19 patients due to bed constraints as the number of patients continues to rise.
According to hospital sources, in the past 24 hours till yesterday morning, 50 new patients were admitted to the hospital while 47 returned home after recovery, reports UNB.
The 100-bed hospital has been providing treatment to 130 patients with its limited staff and resources.
Medical Officer of Khulna Civil Surgeon's Office Dr Sheikh Sadia Monowara Usha said the positivity rate is 29 percent in Khulna.
Khulna Covid Hospital Focal Person Dr Suhas Ranjan Haldar said that the hospital is overcrowded. “We are being forced to keep patients on the floor. It is not possible to admit new patients if admitted ones are not discharged,” he said.
KMC Principal Dr. Mehdi Newaz said doctors and health workers are struggling to handle such a huge number of patients.
Our Khulna Correspondent Hedait Hossain Molla and Rajshahi Correspondent Dulal Abdullah contributed to the report