Health Minister Zahid Maleque said the death rate of the coronavirus patients who required intensive care was concerning.
"Our experience about intensive care units (ICU) in the last couple of days is not good. Eight of nine patients, who were provided with respiratory support, died of the virus infection," he said.
The country saw seven more people dying from Covid-19 infection in the last 24 hours, raising the death toll to 91, and 312 new cases. The total number of people testing positive for the novel coronavirus now stands at 2,456.
At the regular press briefing on Sunday, the health minister said, "Nearly 80 percent of patients recover automatically. Only 15 percent remain under observation in hospitals while 5 percent require medical attention."
He noted that only a few cases require ICU or respiratory support. However, the government has prepared ICUs and ventilators in both public and private hospitals.
The minister said that health experts are emphasising oxygen therapy — a treatment that delivers oxygen gas to breathe.
"And the results are good," he said.
Zahid said that they have ordered 3,500 oxygen cylinders while 10,000 are already in stock.
In the meantime, medical experts say the country's ICU quality and putting patients in those units in the last phase are to be blamed for the death rate.
"Recovery rate of ICU cases is low across the globe. The rate will be poorer in our country as our ICU system is not good," said Professor Ridwanur Rahman, former head of medicine department at the Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital.
"Besides, patients in our country are being admitted to hospitals when it is already late. Critical cases are provided with breathing support at the last stage," he added.
About ICU facilities, virology department Assistant Professor at Shaheed Suhrawardy Hospital Dr Jahidur Rahman echoed Professor Ridwanur.
"In our country, the number of ICU means how many beds we have there. There is hardly any quality control. Therefore, it would be rare for critical patients to recover and return from the so-called ICUs," added Dr Jahidur.
He explained that ICU is not a bed, rather it is a package with trained medical personnel and equipped with modern devices.
Country enters 7th week of infection
The health minister said the country had entered the seventh week of Covid-19 infection. He urged all to follow the health guidelines and stay at home.
Referring to the massive fatalities in Europe and the United States of America, the minister warned of adverse outputs if people did not follow the health advice.
In the last 24 hours until Sunday morning, seven people died in the country, raising the death toll to 91. Also, a total of 312 fresh cases were detected during the time, which pushed the total number of cases to 2,456.
Moreover, nine people recovered in the last 24 hours, elevating the total number to 75. Besides, 2,634 tests were conducted, and the total number reached 23,825.
"The number of new cases remains around 300 in the last few days. We are lucky if it does not surge. The ongoing lockdown is not working as we expected. New cases are being reported as people are touring. Community transmission is also increasing," the health minister said.
Additional Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services Prof Dr Nasima Sultana at the bulletin said that as many as 66 percent are males and 34 percent are females among the new cases.
Also, of the new cases, 44 percent are from Dhaka, 31 percent from Narayanganj and 25 percent from the rest of the country. Five are males among the deceased seven, while three are from Dhaka and four from Narayanganj.
Local admin failed to tackle Brahmanbaria gathering
The health minister feared that many could get infected from the mass gathering at the funeral of an Islamist leader in Brahmanbaria Saturday.
"It was totally irresponsible. The local administration completely failed to thwart the gathering," he said.
Zahid said infection data show Dhaka and Narayanganj arrivals spread the virus in districts.
He commented the law enforcers should get tougher so that none can flout lockdown and spread Covid-19 further.