As confirmed Covid-19 cases in the country passed the one lakh mark yesterday, the director general of health services said the virus might continue to spread during the next two to three years.
“The coronavirus situation will not end within one, two or three months. It will stay for two to three years or even longer,” Prof Abul Kalam Azad told the daily briefing of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
There are now 102,292 confirmed cases, including the 3,803 reported yesterday. The DGHS also reported 38 deaths from Covid-19 in the 24 hours preceding 2:30pm yesterday. This takes the officially reported toll to 1,343.
Bangladesh is now the 17th country in terms of the number of confirmed cases, overtaking Canada, according to Johns Hopkins University which is tracking the virus globally.
Bangladesh had just over 50,000 confirmed cases on June 1 and over 75,000 on June 11.
Prof Azad yesterday announced that he had joined work recently after recovering from Covid-19 at a hospital.
He said the government was planning to make sure people could get tested at upazila hospitals.
Officials are now looking for alternative testing methods besides the current RT-PCR tests, he added.
The hidden cases and people with mild symptoms will be detected more when the number of tests increase, he said.
The spread cannot be contained unless people become careful while travelling and maintain the health rules because Bangladesh is densely populated and the coronavirus highly contagious.
Mentioning the importance of continuing economic activities, he said the government must consider both the well-being and livelihood of the people.
Regarding further restrictions, he said, “Lockdown will be imposed on certain zones when needed. A specialist group is working on it.”
Experts have urged the government to make available the facilities that would be required to tackle the rush of patients.
“We have to ensure hospitals with high flow oxygen support are available,” Mohammad Shahidullah, chief of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 told The Daily Star yesterday.
At the daily briefing, Prof Nasima Sultana, additional director general at the DGHS, said the Covid-19 mortality rate in the country was 1.31 percent.
Yesterday’s new cases were reported after testing 16,259 samples at 61 labs across the country.
The total number of people who recovered from Covid-19 reached 40,164, with 1,975 recovery cases reported yesterday.
The current recovery rate is 39.26 percent, Prof Nasima said.
Of the people reported dead yesterday, 31 were males and seven females; 14 were from Dhaka, 18 from Chattogram, one from Rajshahi, two from Khulna, one from Barishal, one from Mymensingh and one from Rangpur divisions.
Of them, one was aged below 10, two between 21 and 30, five between 31 and 40, three between 41 and 50, six between 51 and 60, 14 between 61 and 70, five between 71 and 80 and two between 81 and 90.
A total of 674 people were placed in isolation, she said.