Nine new patients identified, taking number of total cases to 70
The government on Saturday decided to extend the suspension of public transport services until April 11, in line with its decision to enforce social distancing in order to rein in the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, the health authorities revealed the deaths of two more Covid-19 patients.
The death toll in the Covid-19, the new strain of coronavirus, thus climbed to eight in the country.
The tally of infections has also soared to 70 after nine more people tested positive in the last 24 hours, according to data released by the health directorate.
The newly infected cases are the biggest single day increase of COVID-19 cases in the country since the first infection was reported on March 8.
The previous highest number of cases was just six as reported on March 23 and March 24.
One of the deceased was a 90-year-old and the other was 68, with both having histories of heart disease and stroke respectively, Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Director Meerjady Sabrina Flora told a virtual media briefing on Saturday.
Meanwhile, four more patients have recovered fully, taking the number of those who returned home after recovery to 30, she said.
“Among 32 people currently under treatment, 12 are taking treatment at home while 20 others are under hospitalisation,” she said.
The IEDCR collected 553 samples in the last 24 hours and tested 434 of them, leading to the detection of the nine fresh cases, she added.
“Of these, eight have been identified by the IEDCR and another outside Dhaka,” she said.
The ninth case, nevertheless, will be tested further by the IEDCR, said its director.
“But we are still considering it to be positive,” she said.
Of these nine, five people had come into contact with infected patients, while two others had returned from abroad.
The health authorities are yet to confirm how the rest of the new patients had contracted the disease.
“Five have previously come in contact with persons suffering from coronavirus, which means they are family members of previously identified patients. Two others came from overseas.
The search is on to identify the sources of infection in the remaining two,” Dr Meerjady added.
Two of the newly-infected patients are as young as 10 years old.
“Three of them are aged from 20 to 30, two between 50 and 60, one around 60 to
70 and another nearly 90,” she added.
In a 24-hour span till 12noon on Friday, a total of 203 samples were tested to confirm five cases, clearing depicting that Saturday's number of samples tested is more than that reported on Friday.
To date, Bangladesh has tested samples of only 2,853 suspects to find 70 Covid-19 positive cases, with eight fatalities-- all confirmed by IEDCR, the only government entity to monitor the coronavirus pandemic situation in the country.
It is to be noted that the daily testing rate remained below 100 per day till March 25, a day before the government imposed a shutdown to encourage people to stay at home to fight the spread of coronavirus.
No additional passengers allowed in trucks, covered vans
Issuing a press release Saturday, the Roads Transport and Highways Division said that additional passengers would not be allowed to commute on trucks or other goods-laden vehicles on the road during the ban period.
However, trucks and covered vans carrying medicines, emergency services, fuel and perishable goods are exempted from the travel ban.
On March 23, the government declared general holidays from March 26 to April 4.
On March 26, Bangladesh imposed a travel ban on all modes of transport – rail, road, air, and waterways, except for emergencies – across the country to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday (April 1), the ongoing nationwide shutdown was extended till April 11 as a further step to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus.