No space will be left in hospitals if Covid cases keep rising, warns Bangladesh govt

Bangladesh’s government on Sunday warned that there will be no space left in the hospitals for patients if the COVID-19 cases keep rising at the current pace.

UPDATED: July 26, 2021, 12:36 PM IST

Bangladesh’s government on Sunday warned that there would be no space left in the hospitals for patients if the COVID-19 cases keep rising at the current pace, amid concerns over an increasing number of deaths and infections after the Eid-ul-Azha holidays.

Bangladesh, which is currently facing a renewed surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, registered 228 more fatalities and 11,291 new cases on Sunday.

The government had eased the strict lockdown because of the Eid-ul-Azha festival last week. However, on Friday, it reimposed a “stricter” 14-day nationwide shutdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque said that everyone should abide by the restrictions during the ongoing lockdown to reduce fresh cases, The Daily Star newspaper reported.

“We do not want the number of patients to increase. To reduce the number of patients, we have to reduce the infection,” Maleque said after visiting the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Convention Centre here.

Expressing concern over the increasing infection rate in many cities across the country, he warned, “If the infection continues to increase like this, there will be no place left in hospitals.”

“If the coronavirus situation is not brought under control, it will harm the country’s economy, which we do not want. Therefore, there is no alternative to following the health safety rules,” the health minister said.

The BSMMU field hospital with 1,000 beds, including 200 intensive care units and high dependency units, will start operation next Saturday, said the report.

On Saturday, India sent 200 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen on an Oxygen Express train to Bangladesh.

Giving details about the COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said on Sunday that 228 people died from the contagion in the past 24 hours, taking the country’s death toll to 19,274. Dhaka counted 69 deaths, the highest among the eight divisions, followed by Khulna with 50 fatalities.

It said that 11,291 new cases were reported during the last 24 hours with an infection rate of 30.04 per cent, taking the national tally to 11,64,635.

The government had reimposed the lockdown on Friday and said everyone must stay indoors as offices, courts, garment factories, and other export-oriented industries will remain closed.

Junior minister for public administration Farhad Hossain said: “this lockdown will be stricter than the one imposed last time”.

Army troops, paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh and elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion personnel have joined hands with police in enforcing the shutdown on the streets of the capital Dhaka and other cities and their entry points.

The security personnel in uniform have set up makeshift checkpoints to restrict peoples’ movement without emergency needs.

The health experts have said lifting the ban allowed millions to travel to their homes, crowding public buses and ferries, and warned it could heighten the toll and infection cases in the coming days.

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