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Covid-19 in Bangladesh: Highest weekly infection accelerates to crossing of 100,000 cases

  • Published at 04:44 pm June 18th, 2020
Coronavirus Test
File photo: People wait in queue for hours - with no regard for social distancing - to get tested for Covid-19 at the Central Police Hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The total number of confirmed cases in Bangladesh now stands at 102,292, with 3,465 tests per one million population conducted so far

Bangladesh recorded over 25,000 coronavirus positive cases in a week that took the tally of the total number of people infected to six digits from 75,000.

On June 11, the country crossed the 75,000 mark in the total number of positive cases. The 50,000 mark was crossed on June 2.

Bangladesh crossed the 25,000 mark on May 19, 10,000 on May 4, 1,000 on April 14 and 100 on April 6, according to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).

The country of a population of over 160 million has crossed the grim total of 100,000 infected in 103 days since March 8, following Pakistan in 104 days, and India in 111 days since the first infection was officially recorded, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The total number of confirmed cases in the country now stands at 102,292, while 3,465 tests per one million population have been conducted so far. 

Pakistan has had 4,449 tests per one million population so far, and on the other hand, India conducted 4,530, according to Worldometer.

Other South Asian countries are still below a total of 30,000 cases. Afghanistan recorded 27,532 while the country conducted a total of 1,584 tests per one million population, as per data compiled by Worldometer.

Bangladesh recorded 621 total cases per one million population while Afghanistan found 708. Similarly, Pakistan found 725 cases, and India found 267 cases under the same criteria, says Worldometer.

With a shaky healthcare system, Bangladesh was ravaged by the pandemic with a low testing capacity, only having just six testing centres in Dhaka by the end of March.

Day by day testing facilities increased, and the positive cases rose with a test positivity rate of near 23%. 

At the same time the country's Covid-19 death toll has risen to 1,343, about 1.31% of the total infected.

So far, 40,164 people – 39.26% of all infected – have made full recovery after being infected with the deadly virus, according to official data.

Among the worst-hit countries, Turkey took 45 days; Italy and Spain took 63 days; USA and Brazil took 70 days; Germany, Peru, UK, and Iran took bellow 80 days; France took 83 days; Russia, Chile, and Mexico took between 90 and 100 days since reporting the first infection from the virus to cross the mark of 100,000 total cases. 

Bangladesh: From 100 to 100,000 cases

Bangladesh outplaced Canada in the list of the total number of confirmed cases on Thursday and reached the 17th position among 215 countries and territories and the latest country to cross the 100,000 mark, according to Worldometer.

Bangladesh already crossed China – the first country that reported Covid-19 – last Saturday in terms of total positive cases.  

It took 74 days for Bangladesh to reach the Covid-19 positive cases from 100 to 100,000, however, the growth rate for Bangladesh, in terms of infection spread, was quite slower than many other worst-hit nations by Covid-19, shows the data.

Worldometer data shows a total of 17 countries so far recorded over 100,000 cases including three South Asian countries in total. India is in the fourth position with a total 368,705 cases and Pakistan is in the 13th position with 160,118 cases.

In the United States, which tops the list of Covid-19 infections, it took 25 days for the infections to grow from 100 to 100,000, while it was 30 days for Spain, 35 days for Germany, 36 days for Italy, 42 days for the United Kingdom and 44 days for France.

Among South Asian nations, India took 65 days and Pakistan took 84 days to reach the milestone of 1,00,000 cases from 100 cases.

What to do?

Bangladesh after two months since the end of March raised its testing facilities and conducting tests through 61 centres. 567,503 tests have been conducted so far since January 21, according to DGHS.

Speaking at the daily Covid-19 bulletin of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) on Thursday, Prof Azad said: “The Covid-19 situation will not change in one, two or three months. As per the experts’ opinion, it will sustain for the next two or three years, or more, in Bangladesh. 

“The ratio of infection may not be the same in the upcoming days,” he added.

Senior epidemiologist Mushtaq Hossain said coronavirus is not like any other epidemic such as influenza or diarrhoea that we can apply a formula to determine when the cases may come down.

“The test positivity percentage rate is 22% in Bangladesh against 37% of the global trend. But if it is 22% without reaching the peak, it may reach into 40% when the coronavirus cases reach its peak,” feared Mushtaq, an adviser to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).

People must maintain social distancing and public health measures and there is no alternative to preventing Covid-19 at transmission, he said.

On the other hand, the health authorities will have to put restrictions in places where cases are higher. Also, they will have to ensure testing of suspects, isolation of patients, and their treatment to prevent the transmission, added the IEDCR adviser.

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