The novel coronavirus keeps expanding its lethal grip on Bangladesh, with Gazipur, Mymensingh and Dhaka's Keraniganj becoming three new hotspots of infection – after Dhaka city and Narayanganj.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque, on Wednesday, said Covid-19 cases are increasing alarmingly in these three areas of the country. Earlier, only Dhaka city and Narayanganj had witnessed a large number of cases.
The health minister, in his regular briefing on the Covid-19 situation, said the cases are also on the rise in Narayanganj as well as Dhaka's Mirpur and Bashabo.
He called upon all to sincerely follow the lockdown declared in their respective areas.
"Many do not want to go through [Covid-19] testing. This is a major problem and these people are infecting others. Doctors, too, are being infected," Jahid Maleque said.
Bangladesh on Wednesday confirmed four more deaths – including that of a doctor – from Covid-19, and 219 new cases.
"With the four new casualties, the death toll has risen to 50 from the virus – and a total of 1,231 people have been infected so far," said the minister.
"Among the deceased, three were males and one was female. Two of them were aged over 70 years, one was 50 years old and the other was in-between 35 and 40 years," said Additional Director General of Health Directorate Nasima Sultana.
A total of 2,048 samples were collected and 1,740 were tested from 8am Tuesday to 8am Wednesday.
Nasima also said seven patients had been cured during the period. As of today, 49 people have recovered from the highly-contagious disease.
Director General of Health Services Professor Dr Abul Kalam Azad said Dhaka has the most number of cases thus far, followed by Narayanganj.
Apart from these two cities, cases in Dinajpur are also rising, with seven people contracting the virus there – so far. They recently went to the district from Dhaka and Narayanganj, Abul Kalam also said.
He further said sample collections and tests will be increased within the next few days when the entire picture of the country is clear.
"We will then be able to understand what types of steps are required in a certain area to bring Covid-19 infections under control," Kalam said.
Bangladeshi doctor dies of novel coronavirus
In the meantime, Bangladesh witnessed the demise of one of its soldiers in the fight against Covid-19.
Dr Moyeen Uddin, 50, an assistant professor at Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital, became the country's first-ever doctor to die of the virus on Wednesday morning at Dhaka's Kurmitola Hospital.
He was also the lone coronavirus patient in Sylhet.
He left behind his wife and two kids in the family. His wife is also a doctor who works at a private hospital in Sylhet.
Dr Moyeen, a former student of Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, hailed from Chhatak in Sunamganj but was staying with his family at a rented house in Sylhet city's Housing Estate.
He kept himself under home quarantine since March 31 after he developed coronavirus symptoms. He also refrained from going to the hospital and his chamber.
On April 4, his samples were tested for coronavirus, and the test confirmed his infection the following day.
He had been receiving treatment at home until his health condition deteriorated on April 7 – when he was admitted to the coronavirus isolation unit of Sylhet Shaheed Shamsuddin Hospital.
Later, he was taken to Dhaka's Kurmitola Hospital and put on life-support last Sunday.
Health Minister Jahid Maleque said the government will take the responsibility of the deceased doctor's family.
"We stand by the family. The prime minister has assured them of all types of assistance," he said.
"The prime minister has already announced a Tk100-crore stimulus package for doctors, nurses and health workers fighting Covid-19," he added.
Director General of Health Services Abul Kalam said the prime minister has directed the authorities concerned to take steps to provide insurance and other benefits to Dr Moyeen's family quickly.