Covid-19 cases have increased again in Cox's Bazar – the country's first red zone – amid the ongoing vaccination programme, thanks to a tendency of disregarding the hygiene rules everywhere.
As several asymptomatic Covid-19 patients have been identified in the district recently, this could increase the risk of infection again due to the huge flock of tourists, analysts fear.
On average, 300 samples were tested from February to March 15. Of them: nine tested positive out of 457 samples tested on 10 March, 10 were found positive out of 343 samples tested on 12 March, 14 were found infected out of 337 samples tested on 13 March, and 16 tested positive out of 395 samples tested on 14 March.
Cox's Bazar Civil Surgeon Office's Medical Officer Sounam Barua revealed the data today after a meeting of the District Corona Prevention Committee, held in the DC's office conference room, with
Cox's Bazar Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Mamunur Rashid in the chair.
After that, he said like other parts of the country, the number of positive novel coronavirus cases has increased in the district in the last few days.
Mohammad Osman, supervisor of Sea Safe Life Guard, which serves tourists on the beach, said, "We run campaigns at every point of the beach to wear face masks and maintain social distancing to cope with Covid-19 infections."
But most tourists neither wear a mask, nor maintain social distancing, he added.
Meanwhile, hotels, motels and restaurants in Cox's Bazar are not as strict as before in abiding by the hygiene rules.
However, the district administration has issued a warning to abide by the health rules as Covid-19 infections have increased again.
On a spot visit, this correspondent saw that more than one lakh people, including tourists and locals, are converging on Cox's Bazar beaches every day. The number of tourists doubles on Fridays and Saturdays due to holidays. Except for a handful of people, no one has a face mask. Instead of social distancing, thousands of tourists are crowding in the same place.
With some exceptions, no one was seen following the hygiene rules in government offices, tourist spots and business establishments.
Ashraful Islam, a tourist, said if he wears a mask, he feels like a robber.
Wahid Murad, another tourist, who came from Gazipur with his family, said it is important to wear a mask, but it is not possible to enjoy wearing a mask while traveling.
The district is home to 3.5 million people, including the Rohingya. So far, 70,000 people have been vaccinated in the district.
Dr Mohammad Shahjahan Nazir, an infectious disease specialist in clinical tropical medicine at Cox's Bazar Medical College, said "The vaccine is working 75% to prevent Covid-19; however, a mask is able to prevent 95% of the virus, if other instructions are followed."
"Covid-19 wreaked havoc in the country for three consecutive months, from March to May, last year. It seems that the infections may increase in the same period this year," he added.
"Hygiene rules are being broken everywhere in risky Cox's Bazar. If this situation continues, we may have to deal with a dire situation," he warned.
Cox's Bazar Zone Superintendent of Police Mohammad Zillur Rahman said more vigorous activities will be carried out to implement hygiene rules. Everyone should play a more important role from their own position to save themselves.
Cox's Bazar Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Mamunur Rashid said tourists visiting Cox's Bazar and locals are always being sensitised to prevent Covid-19 infections and mobile courts are being conducted when required.
Necessary monitoring will be intensified on whether the hygiene rules are being followed properly, he added.
A total 97,000 samples have been tested in the district so far. Of them, the infection rate is 6.64 %, recovery rate is 92.06% and total infection reaches to 6,111. The death toll from Covid-19 stands at 82 so far, the Civil Surgeon's Office said.