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29 March, 2020 01:36:24 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 29 March, 2020 10:41:16 AM
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April a crucial phase for country, say experts

COVID-19 OUTBREAK
ANISUR RAHMAN KHAN, Dhaka
April a crucial phase for country, say experts

Bangladesh is passing through a crucial phase with April expected to see more people being infected with COVID-19, though the number of coronavirus patients has been increasing slowly in the country.

Experts say a lot of uncertainty still prevails, as the situation may change anytime.

The COVID-19 is unlikely to completely go away from the country anytime soon and the departments concerned are said to be making preparations to combat the virus.

The country’s preparedness to prevent the spread of COVID-19 or the novel coronavirus infection is believed to be inadequate till now, but the experts say more hospitals will be designated for coronavirus treatment.

They also stressed there was no conclusive proof yet of the COVID-19 virus dying in high temperatures.

Experts of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) and the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) made these observations this while talking to The Independent yesterday.

The experts said they were closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the country.

“Bangladesh is now passing though a crucial period and the next 10 days will be very important. The government has already announced a 10-day holiday to curb COVID-19 in the country. So, every citizen should follow the physician’s suggestions during this period,” director of IEDCR Prof. Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora told this correspondent.

Physical distance of at least 3 feet from each other should be strictly maintained from now till the first week of April, considering that COVID-19 poses the risk of spreading in the country, she said.

She added that no one was in a position to predict the severity of the virus and even developed nations were finding it difficult to cope with the it.

When asked how long the virus would exist in Bangladesh, Flora said, “It is very difficult to say. The virus will exist until it is fully removed globally as it has spread in a pandemic form. Though the Chinese government has controlled it, new cases have been detected in China among people travelling from other countries.

The IEDCR chief said they were monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and decisions could change any time, as the situation was fluid.

When asked about an inadequacy of treatment facilities, she said, “I won’t say the facilities are inadequate compared to the number of patients at this moment. We are increasing the number of hospitals designated specially for COVID-19 treatment.”

Many countries with high temperatures had already been affected by COVID-19, Flora said, while replying to a query whether high temperature helps to kill the COVID-19 virus.

She added that countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait had high temperatures but were still facing a COVID-19 attack. So, she emphasised, that there was no scientific evidence yet to prove high temperatures killed COVID-19.

About how long the virus was likely to remain in the country, DGHS director (disease control) Dr Shahnila Ferdousi told this correspondent that no one could predict that.

When asked about alleged inadequate preparations to cope with the virus, she said, “Preparedness is a continuous process and we are not in a negative stage in terms of preparation. Diagnostic centres have been increasing so that people can easily complete their tests. Even a developed nation like America has been failing to provide treatment due to lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and other necessary items.”

Habits should change and people must follow the physician’s advice to protect one’s life as well as the entire community from COVID-19, Dr Ferdousi said.

She added that diabetic patients with high blood pressure and those with chronic diseases must stay at home as per the directives of the health department.  

The DGHS director said it was a wrong perception that high temperatures help to kill COVID-19.

Earlier, on March 21, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had suggested to Bangladesh to go into lockdown and declare emergency in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

Meanwhile, a total of 48 people have so far been infected with COVID-19 in the country.

MK

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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