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Bangladesh sees spike in Covid-19 infection rate

November 10, 2020 00:00:00

Amid the growing worry over a possible deterioration in Covid-19 situation during the winter, the coronavirus infection rate has marked a rise over the last one week as the temperature dropped a bit, reports UNB.

Public health experts think the situation has started getting worse mainly due to the reluctance of people to abide by health safety rules, wear masks and the government's 'relaxed attitude' towards controlling the virus transmission.

They said the spike in corona cases is a wake-up call for the government to take necessary preventive measures and bulwarks to contain a fresh corona outbreak and increase in fatality rate in the days to come when the mercury will dip further.

According to statistics received from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), over 4,000 people were infected with coronavirus while around 50 died on average every day during the peak of the corona outbreak in May and June months. The positivity rate --an indicator of the prevalence of the disease -was 24-25 per cent at that time.

But from the last week of September the infection rate began subsiding a bit. At one stage, the infection rate came down to 10 per cent in October, but now it has again started growing.

On October 31, 1,320 new infections from coronavirus were recorded in the country with 11.45 per cent positivity rate.

At least 1,568 cases were recorded on November 1 with 12.50 per cent positivity rate while 1,736 fresh cases on November 2 with 13.47 per cent positivity rate, 1,659 cases on November 3 with 11.80 per cent positivity rate, 1,517 cases on November 4 with 10.90 per cent positivity rate, 1,891 cases on November 5 with 12.10 per cent positivity rate, 1,469 cases on November 6 with 10.86 per cent positivity rate and 1,289 cases on November 7 with 11.29 per cent positivity rate.

Bazlur Rashid, a meteorologist at Bangladesh Meteorology Department, said the temperature in the country fell over the last week thanks to northwesterly wind caused by rain at the end of October.

"When the temperature comes down to below 15 degrees, we call it cold weather. So, you can say the winter has already set in, but the temperature will go up within a few days and it may fall again during the last week of this month," Bazlur observed.

He said the winter may begin in full swing in mid-December and several cold waves may hit the country at that time. Usually, January is the coldest month in Bangladesh, and the chilly weather may continue until mid-February.

Former World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Advisor Muzaherul Huq said the coronavirus cases are increasing again mainly because of the government's apathy to control the infection and people's indifference to maintain health safety rules and wear masks.

He thinks the drop in temperature is not the main reason behind the further increase in virus cases. "If there's no effective preventive measure, this virus can spread and what is happening in our country now."

The health expert, however, warned that the fatality of the virus will surely increase during the cold weather as people are susceptible to many cold-related diseases like bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma. "If anyone having such a disease is infected with corona, it'll be difficult to save his life. So, the mortality rate can go up."

He said the government should encourage people to strictly follow the health safety rules, like wearing masks, frequently washing hands with soaps, using sanitizer, maintaining social distancing, avoiding public gathering and staying in quarantine after coming close to any infected people.

"If people don't comply with the health safety guidelines, the government must enforce the law to force them to do so. Otherwise, the situation will continue to deteriorate," Dr Muzaher warned.

Besides, he said people coming from abroad must be screened at the airports and ports and keep them isolated. "We should do it strictly this time to prevent imported cases."

Dr Muzaher said the country is not going to see the second wave soon as the first wave is still going on. "There's no reason to think the corona cases marked a rise due to the second wave since our first wave is not controlled."

Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed, former director (disease control) of the DGHS, said Bangladesh has entered a long cycle of corona transmission due to the "government's failure" to control the first wave of corona outbreak. "We're still experiencing the first wave of coronavirus."

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