Experts fear that the Covid-19 infection situation in Dhaka may deteriorate like in Rajshahi and Khulna in the coming weeks if immediate measures are not taken to stop rising infections in bordering as well as other districts from spreading.
An analysis of health department data reveals that the rate of infection has been increasing in the Dhaka district for a week with a positivity rate of over 10% which was 4% a week ago. The districts around Dhaka are also at risk with a positivity rate of 36% in Tangail and 25.66% in Gazipur.
Dr Abu Jamil Faisal, a public health expert and member of the Public Health Advisory Committee of Covid-19, told The Business Standard, "Infections are moving towards Dhaka like a whirlwind. If the transmission is not stopped, the infection situation in Dhaka may get worse in the next three-four days."
Meanwhile, based on its recent study, the International Centre for Diarrheal Research Bangladesh (icddr,b) revealed on Thursday that among the victims in Dhaka, 68% is the Delta variant, first identified in India.
After sequencing the genomes of 60 samples in the first week of May and June, icddr,b also found that 22% is South African variants and some are Nigerian variants.
The country reported 63 more deaths in the last 24 hours, up from 60 in the previous day, reaching the total death toll to 13,345 and the fatality rate at 1.59%.
The number of fresh cases also remained high as 3,840 more people were infected with the viral disease in the preceding 24 hours. The latest case figures took the case tally to 8,41,087 as of Thursday. The positivity rate was recorded at 15.44%, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
On 29 May, the Epidemiology and Public Health Committee of the DGHS recommended the government impose lockdown in high-risk districts. There are lockdowns in different districts of the country at present but the situation is not improving.
Abu Jamil Faisal, a member of the committee, said it would not be enough just to announce lockdown, it must be implemented. Lockdown was not successful and effective due to a lack of coordination between different ministries. The transmission of the virus could have been prevented if the patient had been identified and isolated by more tests, unfortunately, which is not being done. So, along with border districts, Dhaka will also be affected.
Professor Nazrul Islam, a noted virologist and a member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 told The Business Standard that there is a chance of an increase in infection in Dhaka. At present, only those who go to a hospital are being tested. Many hospitals do not have ICU, Central Oxygen Line and other facilities. There are more patients than beds in hospitals but no action has been taken to control the infection. Although money was allocated in the last budget, it was not spent. The coming wave will be more difficult to deal with.
MASS VACCINATION TO RESUME FROM JULY
The mass inoculation of Covid-19 is expected to be resumed in July as the government is working relentlessly to collect more vaccines, Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus said in a press conference on Thursday adding that "We are maintaining communications, have already talked to a few countries and expect to get vaccines soon. In addition, the government is also trying to produce vaccines in the country."
Mentioning that Tk14,000 crore has been allocated to collect vaccines, Ahmad Kaikaus said Bangladesh does not want any favour from anyone rather it will buy it as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina always insists that "we do not need any free vaccine, we will buy vaccines".
From the very first day, the government has been working rigorously to sourcing vaccines. Bangladeshi high commissioners and ambassadors have been communicating with the USA, the UK, European countries, China and others countries continuously to this end, he added.