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Two more contract COVID-19 in Bangladesh

Habibur Rahman, director of management information system at the Directorate General of Health Services, speaks on an online briefing over coronavirus situation on Thursday.– video grab

Two more persons contracted COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, raising the total number of cases in Bangladesh to 56.

None died in the last 24 hours in the country with the novel coronavirus, keeping the death toll to six, said Health Services director Habibur Rahman at an online press conference on Thursday.

Bangladesh on March 8 confirmed the first case of COVID-19. The first death due to the virus was reported on March 18.

Habibur said that they conducted the tests on 142 people in the last 24 hours and two of them were found infected, but the source of their infections could not be traced.

The sources of infections of five other COVID-19 patients, who were detected earlier and two of them died, could not be established yet.

The government’s disease monitoring arm, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research’s director Meerjady Sabrina Flora said earlier that there had been limited-scale community transmission in the country.

Habibur said on Thursday that they could not trace the source of infection of the new two infected people, one of whom is in his 30s and another in his 70s.

‘We are conducting an investigation on how they got infected,’ he said.

COVID-19 Situation in Bangladesh. Source: Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research

Bangladesh is still doing tests on a small number of people to know the velocity of the infections.

So far 1,896 people were tested, although the test seekers were growing and many people are dying with the symptoms of coronavirus.

Habibur said that prime minister Sheikh Hasina instructed them to conduct at least 1,000 tests every day and there should be at least two samples from every upazilas.

Habibur said 10 laboratories — six in the capital and four in different divisions – were testing samples of COVID-19 suspects. Two other laboratories in the capital and a number of laboratories outside the capital were now ready to tests samples, he said.

World Health Organisation suggests ‘tests, tests and tests’ as a means of identifying COVID-19 patients and isolate them to prevent the spread of the highly contagious deadly virus.

WHO former regional adviser Muzaherul Huq told New Age that the actual picture of COVID-19 patients was unknown and that many others were remaining outside the tests due to the government’s strategy of testing a limited number of people.

‘It will be disastrous if the infected people spread among communities,’ he said.

The government is advising people to call to the IEDCR or the health call centres if they need tests, but the response from the government is still minimal.

Officials are repeatedly discouraging people to go to the hospitals or test centres in person as already infected people would spread the disease to others on they the way to health facilities.

Although over 10.42 lakh people called to the hotlines, only 1,896 of the suspects were tested so far.

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