Experts call for task forces as Bangladesh reported highest daily spike of 1,034 Covid-19 cases, 11 deaths on Monday
Dhaka city still remains the country's epicentre of coronavirus infection with over 58 percent of the total confirmed cases. Narayanganj and Gazipur are two other coronavirus hotspots in the country.
Thus, Dhaka division holds over 81 percent of the Covid-19 patients in the country.
Health experts have called for creating special task forces for these hotspots to stop the contagion.
They believe the coronavirus response strategy for Dhaka and other hotspots should be different from that of other areas.
Monday– the 65th day after the maiden coronavirus case was confirmed in Bangladesh – the country confirmed yet another single-day high of 1,034 new cases of coronavirus infection and eleven more deaths, after testing 7,208 samples at 37 laboratories in 24 hours until 8am on the day.
With this, the death toll from the deadly virus rose to 239 and the number of total infections stood at 15,691.
Additional Director General (admin) of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Prof Nasima Sultana made the announcements in the daily online health bulletin on Monday.
The data from the DGHS as of Sunday shows that the capital city has 58.35 percent of the total coronavirus patients in the country and that the virus is spreading around the city.
Experts say that considering the city's population density and the higher infection rate, the government should give special attention to Dhaka and other hotspots to contain the virus.
Prof Muzaherul Huq, former adviser to the World Health Organisation's South East Asia region, however, says the rate of infections becomes higher when the number of tests is increased.
This is not the real picture of the coronavirus situation in the country, he says, adding "Infections in Dhaka are higher from the beginning while Dhaka, Narayanganj, and Gazipur are the major hotspots. To contain further spread of the virus in these areas, the strategy should be different from that of other areas."
He said there must be strict lockdowns in the hotspots.
"But we see a different approach. Markets and restaurants are being opened during the lockdown period," he continues, "this is self-contradictory and this might worsen the coronavirus situation in the hotspots."
Meanwhile, Professor Nazrul Islam, virologist and former vice-chancellor of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) also fears that the picture we are getting at present is not the actual picture of the coronavirus situation in the country.
The number of cases goes up with an increase in the number of tests, he says, adding that the actual picture may emerge if the number of daily tests goes beyond 10,000.
Professor Nazrul also calls for adopting a different strategy for coronavirus hotspots.
He suggests creating a special task force for Dhaka and says, "The task force will work at the ward level to prevent infection in the city. It will manage various preventive measures such as making people wash hands and wear facemasks, maintaining social distancing, and enforcing the infectious diseases law."
According to this health expert, due to a successful lockdown, infection could be minimised at Tolarbag area of Mirpur. In other areas of the city, lockdowns were not successful and this is why the infection rate has climbed higher.
Infections in districts
As of May 10, of the total infections, 9,226 cases were reported in Dhaka division, 693 cases in Chattogram division, 435 cases in Mymensingh division, 218 cases in Khulna division, 146 cases in Barishal division, 317 cases in Rangpur division, 180 cases in Sylhet division, and 162 cases were reported in Rajshahi division, according to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).
Narayanganj district is the hardest-hit in the country with 1,198 cases. It is followed by Gazipur (333 cases), Kishoreganj (202 cases), Narsingdi (171 cases), Mymensingh (221 cases), Chattogram (220 cases), Munshiganj (216 cases), Dhaka district excluding the metropolitan area (209 cases), Cumilla (171 cases), and Jamalpur (110 cases).
Prof Nasima Sultana of the health directorate on Monday said some 7,267 samples were collected during the last 24 hours until 8am on the day.
She also said some 252 patients recovered from the disease in the last 24 hours, taking the number of total recovered patients to 2,902.
She said, five among the 11 deaths from the coronavirus in the same period were men and six were women. Eight of them were from Dhaka division, two from Chattogram division, and the remaining one was from Rangpur division.
"As per the data reported as of today, around 18.52 percent Covid-19 patients in the country have recovered while the death rate is 1.53 percent," Nasima added.
She said Abdul Maleq Ukil Medical College Hospital in Noakhali was added to the testing activities on Sunday, taking the number of PCR labs in the country to 37.
Sources say the government has a target to set up 16 more PCR labs to expand coronavirus testing facilities across the country.
Under the supervision of the DGHS, non-government organisation Brac is working to set up more booths in different healthcare centres and service-providing organisations to expedite testing facilities in the country.
Another non-government organization, JKG Health Care has set up sample collection booths in different areas in Dhaka city and Narayanganj district.
The DGHS sources say as maximum numbers of coronavirus positive cases have been reported in Dhaka division, the government has dedicated some hospitals for providing healthcare services to Covid-19 patents.
These hospitals are Kurmitola General Hospital, Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Hospital, Mohanagar General Hospital, Railway General Hospital in Kamalapur, Infectious Disease Hospital, Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital, Sheikh Russel Gastro Liver Institute and Hospital, Regent Hospital in Uttara and Mirpur, Sajeda Foundation in Narayanganj, Rajarbag Police Hospital, Lalkuthi Hospital Mirpur, Dhaka Medical College Hospital (burn unit), Mugda Medical College Hospital, and Shahid Tajuddin Medical College Hospital in Gazipur.
On Sunday, Holy Family Red Crescent Hospital was included as the latest one in the list of dedicated hospitals for Covid-19 treatment.