With Covid cases keep soaring in frontier districts apparently because of the highly contagious Indian variant, experts fear that Bangladesh may face the worst outbreak of the deadly virus at the end of June next. They said if the B.1.617, known as the Indian variant, can make its way into other areas from the bordering districts, Bangladesh is likely to witness more than 20,000 cases a day in early July, raising the fatality rate sharply. Lack of necessary oxygen supply and other healthcare facilities may aggravate the situation, according to the experts. They suggested putting the frontier districts, particularly where the virus infection rate has already gone up, under strict lockdowns like Chapainawabganj and halting inter-district public transport services to contain the virus locally. Read UNGA President pushes for Covid-19 vaccines for all Besides, they said, the government should take adequate preparations in advance to face any grim situation like in India and Nepal by increasing the number of hospital beds, treatment facilities, equipment, setting up field hospitals and finding out potential sources for collecting necessary oxygen supplies. Terrifying scenario along border Though the country’s average Covid positivity rate was 8.15 percent on Monday, it was very high in different districts along the Indian border. Chapainawabganj was the worst-hit district with 55 percent infection rate, forcing the local administration to enforce a 7-day strict lockdown. Besides, the positivity rate was over 40 percent in Rajshahi. Read Turkish teams on mission to persuade the vaccine-reluctant The infection rate was also high in some other frontier districts like Satkhira, Jashore, Jhenaidah, Dinajpur, Meherpur, Chuadanga, Sylhet and Moulvibazar. Talking to UNB, DGHS spokesman Robed Amin, said the deadly Indian variant has already entered the country and there could be a full-scale outbreak of the virus if it spreads across the country. He said Covid patients with the Indian variant were found in bordering districts, including Chapainawabganj, Rajshahi and Jashore. “It’s alarming news. As this variant spreads fast, the infection rate may continue to surge seriously, if people show apathy to masking up and abiding by health safety rules.” Read Bangladesh begins administering 1st dose of Chinese vaccine Apprehension Infectious disease expert Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed, a former director (Disease Control) at the DGHS, thinks the bordering districts are now seeing a little bit of outbreak of the virus due to the prevalence of the Indian strain. He said it is still difficult to say whether Bangladesh will witness a similar scenario like India. “We’ll clearly understand the situation one or two weeks later. It depends on the level of the outbreak and the government’s preventive measures. If we can contain the variant locally by enforcing strict lockdown before it spreads to major cities, we may not experience a dangerous situation like in India and Nepal,” he said.
The government has planned to spend Tk 935.81 billion up to 2022-23 fiscal year starting from the current one for the heath sector development as it is committed to taking healthcare facilities to the doorsteps of people.