Rangamati, a district under the Chattogram Hill Tracts, with its hills and beautiful scenery, has still not been affected by the deadly corona while most other parts of Bangladesh are in its grip.
No one has tested positive to Covid-19 so far in Rangamati, which is a result of proper social distancing under the management of the local administration.
Not just Rangamati, eleven other districts also do not have any cases that have tested positive to the virus till Sunday, according to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).
These districts are: Rangamati, Khagrachhari, Bhola, Satkhira, Kushtia, Naogaon, Natore, Chapainawabganj, Meherpur, Jhenaidah, Sirajganj and Magura. The testing of suspected coronavirus patients in the regions started around two weeks ago, and no one tested positive for the virus till Sunday.
In Rangamati, a total of 108 suspected covid-19 patients have been tested for Covid-19, out of which they have the results of 72 cases, and all of them are negative, according to the district'sCivil Surgeon Office. However, the results of 36 samples are yet to come.
Fazle Elahi, founder of Global Village Rangamati, told The Business Standard that the administration has taken a hard line since the very beginning of the coronavirus outbreak.
"No one has entered the district without a proper checkup, and home quarantine has also been maintained accordingly. As a result, no coronavirus positive case has been found as yet," he said.
AKM Mamunur Rashid, the deputy commissioner of Rangamati, said that they have taken strict action since the very beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak in mid-March.
"Most of the people here followed the instructions of the district administration. Besides, transportation is not so easy in the region due to its geographical characteristic. We just set-up a few check posts in the bordering areas of the district. Maybe this step has given us a good result," he explained.
Md Junayet Kawsar, additional superintendent of police of Kaptai circle, also echoed the same.
"The check posts are performing their roles very strictly. Besides, we voluntarily provide food to the low-income people of Kaptai so that they do not need to come out of their home for help," he added.
In another district, 212 suspected patients in Satkhira were tested for Covid-19. Of them, 29 were found to be negative, and the results of the rest of the samples are yet to come, according to the Satkhira Civil Surgeon's Office.
Mostafijur Rahman, superintendent of police of Satkhira, said that they have been giving their full effort to keeping expatriates and returnees from Dhaka in home quarantine.
"The police force and the district administration are relentlessly working to ensure home quarantine of expatriates," he said.
Meanwhile, in Bhola, out of 204 samples, 119 have tested negative for coronavirus. The results of the rest are yet to come.
In Chuadanga, a total of 102 samples were collected for testing, and no one tested positive for Covid-19.
No coronavirus positive case was found in Jhenaidah, confirmed Dr Md Abdus Salam, civil surgeon of the district.
"We are trying to reach every possible suspect and collect their sample. But the testing procedure is a bit lengthy. That is why we cannot do tests in large numbers. That is a problem," he said.
Hasibul Alam, superintendent of police of Sirajganj, told The Business Standard that the people in the district are still unaware of the pandemic, so the local administration had to take extra measures to tackle it.
Mohammad Shahriaz, deputy commissioner of Natore, said that they had been closely monitoring every single suspect and regularly keeping contact with them.
"The process might help the district to remain safe from the coronavirus outbreak," he said.
Dr Md Azizur Rahman, respiratory medicine specialist, said these 12 districts may be lucky that they had no influx of returnees from Dhaka or Narayanganj.
"But the tough time is waiting ahead. The authorities concerned should increase testing capacity in these districts to know the exact situation," he added.
Dr Md Misbahul Ferdous, working in Fuwai Hospital, National Center for Cardiovascular Diseases in Beijing of China, and vice president of the Asian Society of Cardiology, told The Business Standard that the news of no coronavirus positive patients in the districts was good news.
"On the other hand, it is also suspicious. Those 12 districts are free from covid-19. The sample collection and patient choosing method need a double-check before we praise them. The whole system should be thoroughly monitored to understand what is actually happening," he said.
The authorities concerned should strictly maintain social distancing and home quarantine in the 12 districts. Otherwise, sooner or later they will lose control in these areas too, said Dr Ferdous.
He also said the definition of social distancing was totally changed in Bangladesh in the last week.
"We have seen many pictures of public gathering. It is shocking and horrible for all of us. The local and central government can follow more efficient ways to control those issues. The Narayanganj issue has already come to the spotlight. The people who travelled from Narayanganj to other districts need to be monitored more closely by the local government," he said.
"The next 10-20 days will be the most important days for all of us. We need to be strict to ensure social distancing in this time. More support to doctors and law enforcing agencies will be beneficial for all of us," said Dr Ferdous.