In the last 24 hours, three more people have died from the novel coronavirus, and 58 new cases have been confirmed across the country.
As of Saturday, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases reached 482, and the total death toll hit 30, Health Minister Zahid Maleque disclosed at a regular online briefing.
The Directorate General of Health Services organised the daily bulletin.
From 8am Friday to 8am Saturday, authorities tested 954 samples collected from across the country.
More than 1,000 coronavirus tests were carried out on both Wednesday and Thursday, each, as per the directive of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. However, the number of tests performed on Friday was below the 1,000-mark.
Seventeen laboratories are now performing Covid-19 tests throughout the country.
Addressing the online briefing, Zahid Maleque said, "The number of new infections has decreased in the last 24 hours. It is a positive development that this number is lower than the previous day. I consider this good news."
However, a number of experts have termed "abnormal" the sudden drop in the number of new patients within just a day.
Professor Nazrul Islam, virology expert and former vice chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, told The Business Standard, "The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) should have provided an explanation regarding how the number of new patients could have suddenly dropped within a day.
"I have heard that the number of cases in Dhaka and Narayanganj is increasing, then how did the number of new patients drop? There could be errors in the sample collection or testing procedures," he said.
Prof Nazrul continued, "Accurate information must be represented, otherwise people will get the wrong information. If people believe that the pandemic's impact has eased in the country, they will no longer maintain social distancing rules.
Majority of patients below 40 years old
Addressing the online briefing, IEDCR Director Meerjady Sabrina Flora said, "Among the 482 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Bangladesh, 22 percent of patients are between 31-40 years old – which is the highest compared to other age groups."
"Meanwhile, 19 percent of patients are between 21-30 years old and another 19 percent are between 41-50 years old. Of the total number of patients, 70 percent are men and 30 percent are women. Fifty-three percent of them are residents of Dhaka," she added.
Giving more details, she said, "Among the new cases, 48 are men and 10 are women. Fourteen of the patients are from Dhaka and eight are from Narayanganj.
"Of them, 17 people between 31-40 years old tested positive, which is the highest compared to other age groups. Fifteen of the new patients are between 41-50 years old."
The IEDCR director added that three more people have recovered from Covid-19 and returned home. So far, a total of 36 people have recovered from the novel coronavirus in the country.
3 more isolation centres in Dhaka
During the briefing, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said the government has taken the initiative to turn three more facilities into Covid-19 treatment centres in Dhaka.
The minister said, "The government is rapidly preparing 4,500 isolation beds. Among them, the Bashundhara Convention Centre will have 2,000 beds, the Dhaka North City Corporation Centre Convention Centre 1,300 beds and four multi-storied buildings in Uttara 1,200 beds.
"Additionally, a few more facilities, such as the Mugda Medical College and Hospital and NITOR Hospital, will be prepared to handle coronavirus patients."
"The Private Medical College Association is providing the government with personal protective equipment and other support. The government is ready to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic with a concerted effort by everyone," he added.