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Rangpur emerges as Covid-19 hotspot

  • Published at 06:03 am June 15th, 2021
Rangpur Covid
File photo shows health workers carrying a Covid-19 patient on a stretcher in Rangpur Dhaka Tribune

Faridpur and Tangail, two districts under Dhaka Division, have also seen a surge in infections

After Khulna and Rajshahi, Rangpur Division is now emerging as a new hotspot of Covid-19.

Thakurgaon, Dinajpur and Rangpur are the division’s three districts with the highest infection rates, according to the Covid-19 situation report of the World Health Organization (WHO) published on June 7.

Data from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) shows that the test positivity rate over the past week has stayed at around 50% in Thakurgaon, 35% in Dinajpur, and 20% in Rangpur districts.

A high-level health official of the division expressed fear that the situation could worsen as people were continuing to flout Covid-19 safety guidelines.

The official added that patients are taking longer to recover than in previous waves of the pandemic, which is pushing the health system to the brink.

Dhaka under threat as well

Faridpur and Tangail, two districts under Dhaka Division, have also seen a huge surge of Covid-19 patients in recent days.

Health authorities said they suspect the situation in Faridpur is worsening as people frequently travel there from neighbouring Magura district under Khulna Division.

Magura has a test positivity rate of around 20%.

Dr Ananta Kumar Biswas, ICU in-charge of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical College Hospital in Faridpur, said all 14 ICU beds of the hospital are occupied.

“The patients are recovering late and those who are dying are dying fast. The second wave this time has brought a different situation for us,” he added.

Meanwhile, DGHS said the positivity rate in Tangail reached 33.33% on Monday. The district’s civil surgeon office said Tangail’s geographical position, free movement of people coming from northern districts and unwillingness to follow health rules have led to the rise in infections.

DGHS Director (Hospitals) Dr Faird Mia said the situation in the Dhaka region is better right now than earlier in the pandemic.

“We are increasing healthcare facilities at border areas so that people won’t have to come to the capital for treatment,” he added.

The directors of Rajshahi Medical College Hospital and Khulna Medical College Hospital said they are opening new wards to cope with the surging number of Covid-19 cases.

More lockdowns and restrictions?

The district administrations have, so far, imposed strict lockdowns or restrictions on public movement and gathering in at least 16 districts to curb Covid-19 transmission.

DGHS data shows that the case positivity rate has reduced to around 12% from 30% a week ago in some of the districts where lockdowns were imposed, such as Chapainawabganj.

The daily infection rate has also dropped to 47.31% from 64% after 10 days of lockdown in Satkhira.

Satkhira Deputy Commissioner SM Mostafa Kamal said mobile courts are continuously trying to prevent people from going outdoors.

Former Rangpur Division health director Dr Ahad Ali said he had written to the divisional commissioner at the beginning of the second wave of the pandemic, asking to form committees using local representatives to ensure that health guidelines are followed.

“The local administration did not pay any heed to the proposal. If they did, the current situation would not be so bad in Rangpur Division,” he added.

Our correspondents Hedait Hossain Molla in Khulna, SM Shamsur Rahman in Bagerhat, Liakat Ali Badal in Rangpur, Dulal Abdullah in Rajshahi, Abdullah Al Numan in Tangail, and Rashedul Hasan Kajol in Faridpur contributed to this report

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