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On March 2, 2020, Bangladesh confirmed its first three cases of COVID-19 and by March 21, the number reached 24 active cases with two deaths.
However, many fear that the actual number will be much higher, as questionable quarantine measures coupled with a lack of testing facilities and equipment can spell disaster for one of the world's most densely populated nations.
Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director of the World Health Organization (WHO), warned that several countries in South and Southeast Asia, including Bangladesh, are clearly heading towards community transmission of the coronavirus unless “urgent and aggressive ”.
There are only 200 beds intended for the treatment of COVID-19 patients at the Kuwait-Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital, and many private hospitals in Dhaka have said they lack the necessary infrastructure to treat coronavirus cases at their facilities.
Private health centers are not allowed to conduct tests to ensure that the process is supervised by the Government and also to prevent any institution from taking advantage of the crisis. As a result, only one entity – the Institute of Epidemiology, Research and Disease Control (IEDRC) – is authorized to test and diagnose COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh.
The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) #HOTLINE numbers.
IEDCR said that if contacted and according to necessity, their special medical teams would visit suspected coronavirus patients ’homes and collect samples for testing.# COVID19#STAY_CAREFUL pic.twitter.com/BX4euYGvxN
– Human For Human (@humanforhumanbd) March 17, 2020
Hotlines of the Institute of Epidemiology, Research and Disease Control (IEDCR)
The IEDCR said that if contacted and as needed, its special medical teams would visit the homes of patients with suspected coronaviruses and collect samples for analysis. COVID-19. BE CAREFUL
However, the IEDCR started with a supply of only 2000 test kits for the COVID-19 and only with a test facility.
Reports state that patients with fever, cold symptoms, and respiratory problems are not screened in either private hospitals or the IEDCR unless they have a travel history.
I just called IEDCR hotline to learn about Coronavirus testing since this is the ONLY place that is authorized to test (which is obviously done so that test patients are monitored and marked)
They ask 2 questions: 1. Have you traveled outside the country in the last 14 days?
– Nazia Tariq (@naziatr) March 16, 2020
I just called the IEDCR hotline to learn more about the coronavirus test as it is the ONLY site authorized to do it (which is obviously done so that test patients are supervised and flagged)
They ask two questions: 1. Have you traveled outside the country in the last 14 days?
According to the records, only 351 people have been officially examined by the IEDCR, although since the COVID-19 outbreak on January 21 some 631,538 people have entered the country.
Home quarantine enforcement
Starting on March 16, the country imposed a 16-day ban on travelers from most European countries (except the UK). The Government also imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine on Bangladeshis who are allowed to return.
Before the travel ban measures, the government had tried to take returnees from a flight from Italy – the country with the highest number of cases in Europe – to a quarantine place on March 15. The move was criticized and many protested the lack of arrangements to the place. They were then allowed to return home on the condition that they isolate themselves for 14 days.
Since then, hundreds of expatriates have been seen returning from COVID-19-affected countries outside their homes, on their way to tourist destinations and celebrating weddings, among other prohibited activities.
Look at the situation.
Bangladesh government give them 14 days vacation to stay safe at home for #coronavirus. But they are utilizing this time by gathering Patenga Sea beach Chittagong.
This is called Bangladeshi. pic.twitter.com/dkQmMOoHqj
– Jabed Ahmed (@ MjAhmed27) March 18, 2020
We take a look at the situation
The Government of Bangladesh gave them 14 days of vacation to be safe at home from the coronavirus. But they are using this time to be all together on the beach in Patenga, Chittagong.
This is called Bangladesh.
On March 19, the Army was deployed to monitor two quarantine facilities in Dhaka – one at Camp Ashkona Haji near Shahjalal International Airport and one at the Rajuk apartment project in Diabari.
COVID-19 mass meetings in time
Starting in the first week of March, Bangladesh began to postpone or cancel public activities such as the centennial demonstration of the birth of its founder, Sheik Mujibur Rahman. On March 16 it was declared that all public schools and universities were closed until March 31 as a preventive measure against the spread of the virus.
Despite these measures, more than 25,000 people gathered in Raipur Upazila in the Laksmipur district on March 18 for a special prayer session to prevent the coronavirus outbreak.
– Ahmed Shamim (@ AhmedSh19594953) March 20, 2020
Tens of thousands of people gathered in Bangladesh for a mass prayer session on Wednesday, despite fears that it poses a risk of the spread of the new coronavirus.
After the incident, the Government said that all political, social, cultural and religious manifestations were prohibited as of March 20, 2020.
The Disease Control Center of the Electoral Board of Health Services asked the Ministry of Health to search for 100,000 test kits for COVID-19 and 500,000 surgical masks, but it will take some time to import them.
China has offered to provide Bangladesh with some 10,000 coronavirus testing kits, 10,000 medical protective garments, and infrared thermometers and masks to care for people undergoing virus testing.
Meanwhile, Ganashystha Kendra, a local health institution in Bangladesh, claims to have developed, after two months of research, a fast and inexpensive “dot blot” test kit (N d T: a molecular biology technique to detect biomolecules) that can detect COVID-19 in 15 minutes. The unit, if mass produced, would cost about $ 4.5 per kit. Ganashystha Kendra is said to have obtained government approval to import the material to produce them.
On March 19, 2020, authorities closed the entire Upazila (sub-district) Shibchar in the Madaripur district as several new cases of COVID-19 were detected in this area. The government also indicated that many more areas will be blocked if the situation worsens.
As the situation worsens, many are trying to see how Bangladesh will lead the crisis, especially as the nation is hosting more than a million Rohingya refugees, many of whom live in densely populated refugee camps.
As social distancing goes into full effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Rohingya refugees living in camps in Bangladesh don’t hold such a luxury. What happens if the virus takes hold in the world’s most vulnerable communities? Https: //t.co/CxALewzSmK
– ☔️ (@brownaandlovely) March 19, 2020
Rohingya is easy prey in refugee camps if the virus spreads.
As the world closes in and social distancing comes into effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Rohingya refugees living in dirty camps in Bangladesh do not have that luxury. What happens if the virus attacks the world's most vulnerable communities?
As social distancing comes into full force to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Rohingya refugees in camps in Bangladesh do not have that luxury. What will happen if the virus attacks the most vulnerable communities in the world?