• Monday, Jun 27, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:54 pm

Spike in Covid infections may create oxygen crisis

  • Published at 04:33 pm July 4th, 2021
Oxygen-oxygen plant-Narayanganj
File photo of an oxygen plant in Rupganj, Narayanganj Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Situation in Jessore, Kushtia and Satkhira is worsening

While southern Bangladesh is struggling to ensure oxygen supply for the hospitalized Covid-19 patients and the suspects, the health authorities have warned that the rising trend of Covid patients in the hospitals could lead to a crisis of medical oxygen.

Prof Dr Nazmul Islam, one of the spokespersons of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), however, claims that there is no crisis in production and supply of oxygen at this moment.

During the regular health bulletin on Sunday, the official said that the number of patients reported during the 26th week of 2021 had increased by 51% compared to the previous week.

“Fatalities have risen by 46% during the same period,” he added.

In response to queries by reporters, he said that they were investigating the allegations of deaths due to the oxygen crisis.

"There is no oxygen crisis right now. However, it will be difficult to meet the demands if the number of coronavirus patients keeps rising,” said Dr Islam.

Six people died allegedly due to an oxygen supply failure in Satkhira Medical College Hospital on the evening of June 30. They were undergoing treatment at the ICU and the CCU units of the hospital.

Also Read- Covid-19: Daily deaths hit record 153 in Bangladesh as toll tops 15,000

The hospital authorities formed a three-member probe committee on July 1. The probe body has been asked to submit its report in three working days.

Khulna in dire situation

It was the Khulna region where the DGHS had focused on to stop the Delta variant (popularly known as the Indian variant) from entering the country.

But the variant reached the country through the northern area, mainly through Rajshahi division. 

The recent situation report by the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that the Covid situation in Rajshahi is improving. But Khulna could not show any visible improvement.

As a result, although the health authorities in Khulna are increasing the treatment facilities, they are struggling to take the situation under control.

Dr Nitish Chandra Golder, upazila health and family planning officer of Paikgacha under Khulna, said that the demand for oxygen was also very high as the number of patients was increasing fast.

They have already contacted the higher authorities seeking more support to tackle the Covid-19 situation.

The situation in Jessore, Kushtia and Satkhira is also worsening.

Meanwhile, Superintendent of Satkhira Medical College Hospital Dr Sheikh Kudrat-E-Khuda said that the oxygen supply in the hospital was functioning properly.

Also Read- Khulna gasps for air amid tough lockdown

About the June 30 incident, he said that the supply of oxygen had not been stopped, but the pressure went down for several hours. 

Khulna Divisional Health Director Dr Rasheda Sultana said that they had been going through a much tougher situation than previous year.

“We are solving the problems emerging in any corner of the division,” she said.

Scope for Bangladeshis stranded in India

Regarding the Bangladeshi citizens stranded in India after the government banned passenger movement along the border on April 25, Prof Nazmul Islam said: “They will be able to enter the country through the land borders.” 

The borders will remain open on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays.

Responding to a query on the Moderna vaccines, he said: “We are yet to finalize how they will be administered. We are working on it.”

On vaccination for the university students, Prof Nazmul said that it would be done in phases and might “take some time".

The DGHS spokesperson also said that there was no shortage of testing kits as the antigen and the rt-PCR tests had been conducted at the testing facilities. 

“Bangladesh is capable of testing 50,000 samples a day,” he added.

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