The current stagnant Covid-19 situation in Bangladesh will convert to a sudden rise in winter if the social hygiene protocols are violated repeatedly, leading public health experts warn.
They fear a slow pace of vaccination, waning vaccine immunity, sheer disregard for Covid- health protocols, reopening of schools and increased travel may set the stage for another Covid wave in Bangladesh – a trend many European countries are witnessing now.
Bangladesh saw a rise both in the number of daily deaths and cases as health officials recorded seven more casualties and 253 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours till 8am Friday.
Experts apprehend another small wave of the Covid pandemic may hit the country in the upcoming winter.
Dr M Mushtuq Husain, adviser to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), said, "Right now, we must maintain a high-level of alertness at all times, because the winter is approaching as well as Covid infections are rising in some of the countries."
Naturally, people have to come out of home for their livelihood. But many of them have started shrugging off health guidelines, witnessing lower infections in the country. People's relaxed attitudes towards health guidelines will increase the risk of infection, he warned.
The IEDCR adviser further said the carelessness of the people in maintaining health guidelines has been observed around the world, leading to a higher infection rate in many countries. There is no way but to be careful about maintaining public health measures.
"As our international airport is open, so without any delay, we will have to start contact tracing and testing people who were close to the patients. As now the number of patients is low, it will be easier to manage every patient."
Do not forget to maintain public health and hygiene measures, especially in crowded places. For example, you should keep on wearing masks. You must wear a mask in closed areas: shopping malls, bazaars, social events, etc, he added.
"Sadly, we are not getting sufficient vaccines from developed nations. The more people we can vaccinate, especially the elderly, the more lives we will be able to save. If we can vaccinate more people, the extent of damage will be lower despite the high infection rate," he also said.
MH Chowdhury Lenin, chairman of the medicine department at Health and Hope Hospital, said, "We're now in a relaxed mood over the prevailing Covid situation in Bangladesh. But we apprehend that it may deteriorate anytime as many European countries -- including Bulgaria and Romania -- are already facing a fresh wave of the deadly virus."
He warns that coronavirus cases have also started soaring in Iran and some areas of China. "So, this virus can also surge anytime in our country and there is no room for complacency over the current controlled Covid situation."
The country reported five deaths and 244 cases the previous day.
"The country reported 1.40 % Covid-19 positive cases as 18,124 samples were tested in the past 24 hours," the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said in its daily statement.
With the latest additions, the death toll reached 27,946 and the case tally increased to 1,573,711 in the country.
Also, 298 patients were declared free of Covid-19 during the last 24 hours, with a 97.72% recovery rate.
Among the deaths, six were reported in Dhaka division and one in Chattogram division.
Meanwhile, the Covid-19 victims' gender breakdown shows that 17,887 of the total deceased across the country were men and 10,059 were women.
The DGHS said among the total 27,946 fatalities, 12,193 occurred in Dhaka division, 5,674 in Chattogram, 2,049 in Rajshahi, 3,604 in Khulna, 946 in Barishal, 1,270 in Sylhet, 1,366 in Rangpur and 844 in Mymensingh divisions.
The country's maiden cases were reported on 8 March last year and the first death from the virus was reported on 18 March.