The ongoing global pandemic of COVID-19 has recently been creating even more havoc with its more contagious and powerful Delta variant and Bangladesh has been recording new highs in the daily death toll almost every day over the past week. People are exploring the possible remedies and immunity boosters to stay healthy amid the shutdown, including the benefits of home workouts, meditations and yoga. Fatigue is something that does not go away even after COVID-19 is cured, and it is also a companion to other infectious diseases. People suffering from weakness of body and mind cannot easily return to normal life because of this respiratory virus that affects the lungs and causes a lack of oxygen supply, thus fatigue spreads to the cells of the body. Read:Bangladeshi youth shines in global yoga vlogging contest Evaluating the problem, health experts suggest that the lungs need to be protected as well as the immune system of the body, and regular yoga practice can be an effective solution to these necessities and also helps to prevent fatigue and other physical and psychological problems. Several organizations including Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) are considering yoga a beneficiary tool for the frontliners policemen and it has arranged multiple yoga training sessions over the year for both of its male and female troops. Regarding the health benefit of yoga during this pandemic, Monirul Islam, a 70-years old retired government officer, talked to UNB and shared his miraculous recovery process of surviving a stroke, from which he got cured by practising yoga during the lockdown last year. Read Which Type of Yoga Should You Try? “I have always been a fit and socially active person, being engaged to many organizations and cooperative works after my retirement. When we were instructed by WHO and the government that we need to avoid all the outside activities, embracing all these new normalcies and lockdown protocols, my regular life and health got massively impacted - as a result of which, I suffered a stroke in August 2020,” Monirul Islam told UNB. After receiving the necessary medical assistance, he started receiving online training from yoga studio Bend with B’s founder and instructor Bishaka Tanchangya, a certified yoga instructor from Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (SVYASA Yoga University), Bangalore, India. Read:What Does Yoga Do For Weight Loss?
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Thursday directed the authorities concerned to increase oxygen supply and corona beds in hospitals across the country to ensure the treatment of Covid-19 patients. Read:4 Covid patients die in Pabna hospital amid oxygen crisis The PMO also urged those who are showing Covid-19 symptoms to stay home and directed the local administration to make sure that the patients with corona symptoms are kept in isolation. The directives came from an urgent meeting held virtually with divisional commissioners and deputy commissioners to work out measures to protect the public health and ensure coordination in the ongoing government activities to check the transmission of coronavirus in the country. Read: Quader sees no oxygen crisis The PMO issued the directives at a time when Bangladesh is struggling with a catastrophic second wave of the Coronavirus leaving hospitals across the country overwhelmed with Covid-19 patients. PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus joined the meeting from the PMO end and presided over it. Read:Oxygen crisis: Probe committee gets more time to investigate deaths at Satkhira hospital Senior Secretary of Health Services Division Lokman Hossain Miah and PMO Secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah, among others, attended the meeting.
Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader on Monday said the demand for ICU beds is growing fast as Covid cases have surged alarmingly, signalling that a more worrying time lies ahead. “But there’s still no ICU beds in 35 districts. Though the Prime Minister asked to set up ICU beds in all districts a year back, the health ministry has failed to do that,” he said. Read: Corruption in health sector widespread: GM Quader In a statement, the Jatiya Party chief said, “The Corona situation is heading towards an appalling point due to the failure of the health ministry. So, effective steps should be taken to install ICUs and ensure adequate oxygen support in all districts as soon as possible.” GM Quader, also the deputy opposition leader in parliament, said 76 percent of the country’s total ICU beds are in Dhaka division while 73 percent alone in the capital. Read:Lockdown can’t be fruitful keeping people hungry: GM Quader Referring to an IEDCR report, he said 78 percent of Covid patients in June last were infected with Delta or Indian variant, mounting the demand for the ICU beds. GM Quader bemoaned that the relatives are rushing from one district to another with Covid patients as there are no ICUs at the district level. Read:Not possible to tackle Covid with gifted vaccines: GM Quader Stating that almost all of the ICUs at government hospitals in the capital are not empty, he said the CUs of private hospitals are also filling up quickly with critical patients. "The health directorate yesterday (Sunday) said the oxygen supply will become a challenge, if the number of patients continues to surge. So, there’s be an outcry for ICUs if the situation worsens further, leading to the alarming rise in mortality rate,” the Jatiya Party chief warned.
A probe committee formed to investigate Thursday's incident at Satkhira Medical College that saw 7 Covid patients die allegedly due to a crisis in the hospital's central oxygen supply, has been granted more time to submit the report on Sunday. Dr Kazi Arif Ahmed, head of the hospital’s medicine department and leader of the probe committee, said, as Friday and Saturday were government holidays, the committee has asked to extend the deadline for a week from earlier ordered three days to conduct the investigation properly. On Thursday evening, a sudden decrease in the central oxygen flow of the hospital allegedly caused the deaths of seven patients. Also read: Covid-19: Lockdown in Satkhira extended by a week However, the hospital authority admitted only four deaths. Meanwhile, two probe committees have been formed to investigate the incident, one by the hospital authority led by Dr Kazi Arif Ahmed and another by the divisional health office director Dr Rasheda Sultana. Administrator of the hospital Dr Qudrat-E-Khuda said the probe committee has been granted a week more to submit the report, so now both the committees have seven days for investigating. Also read: Lockdown: People continue to defy health guidelines in Satkhira The committee from the divisional office already visited the hospital Sunday and started their probe, he said. Dr Kazi Arif Ahmed said,"We have collected written statements of the administrator, principal and 22 health officials present at the hospital that day.” “The actual cause of deaths will be confirmed after completing the overall investigation,” he said.
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.
India continues to reel under the twin burdens of a huge surge in Covid-19 cases and an acute shortage of medical oxygen. At least 11 Covid-19 patients on life support died at a private hospital in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh late on Monday night due to a sudden disruption in oxygen supply, officials said on Tuesday. The deaths occurred at Ruia Hospital in Andhra Pradesh's temple town of Tirupati in Chittoor district. As many as 700 Covid patients are being treated at the hospital. Chittoor District Collector M Hari Narayanan attributed the deaths to a delay in reloading the hospital's main oxygen cylinder. "The delay in arrival of oxygen tankers from Tamil Nadu had triggered the crisis. The temporary disruption led the oxygen pressure to drop, resulting in the deaths. The oxygen supply was restored within five minutes. Because of this we could prevent more casualties," Narayanan told the media. With Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government failing miserably to stem the oxygen crisis, the country's Supreme Court on Saturday set up a 12-member National Task Force to assess the availability of the life-saving gas across the country and help resolve the crisis at the earliest. Read Also: India launches effort to inoculate all adults against COVID "The rationale for constituting a Task Force at a national level is to facilitate public health response to the pandemic based on scientific and specialised domain knowledge. We expect leading experts in the country shall associate with the Task Force, as members and resource persons," the court had said. In fact, several hospitals in India are facing an acute shortage of oxygen as the country witnesses a ferocious second wave of Covid. In the past one month, at least 100 patients have died at different hospitals in the country due to a shortage of oxygen. Last week, 24 patients on life support lost their lives at a government medical facility in the southern state of Karnataka after it allegedly ran out of the life-saving gas. Also read: 24 die in southern India hospital due to oxygen shortage The deaths occurred at the general hospital in Karnataka's Chamarajanagar district, some 200km from state capital Bengaluru. Hospital officials had said that many Covid patients on life support were among the deceased. On May 1, some 12 people, including a Covid-positive doctor, lost their lives at Batra Hospital in the national capital after it ran out of the life-saving gas. "Supply came at 1.30pm (a second tanker reached at around 4pm). But we were out of oxygen for 1 hour and 20 mins. By the time supplies came, 12 people, including a doctor, were dead. Most of them were Covid patients on life support," the hospital had said in a statement. On April 24, Jaipur Golden Hospital, a dedicated Covid medical facility in Delhi, announced the death of 25 Covid patients in 24 hours due to "low-supply oxygen" to critical patients on ventilator. And a day before, another leading hospital in Delhi also said in a statement that 25 patients lost their lives in 24 hours due to an acute shortage of oxygen. "25 sickest patients have died in the last 24 hours. Oxygen will last another two hours. Major crisis likely. Lives of 60 sickest patients at risk, need urgent intervention," Sir Ganga Ram Hospital had said. It may also be mentioned here that as many as 24 Covid patients on ventilator at a government hospital in the western state of Maharashtra had earlier died after their oxygen supply ran out following leakage of the life-supporting gas from a tanker. The tanker was brought to Zakir Hussain Municipal Hospital in Nashik district to replenish the cylinders.
India’s large diaspora — long a boon to India’s economy — is tapping its wealth, political clout and expertise to help its home country combat the catastrophic coronavirus surge that has left people to die outside overwhelmed hospitals. Around the world, people of Indian descent are donating money, personally delivering desperately needed oxygen equipment and setting up telehealth consultations and information sessions in hopes of beating back the outbreak. Two humanitarian groups in the U.S. led by people of Indian background raised more than $25 million in recent days to help the teetering health care system. Indian American doctors, hotel owners and other entrepreneurs, some responding to requests for help from Indian leaders, have pledged or donated millions more. In Britain, volunteers at three Hindu temples raised more than 600,000 pounds ($830,000) last weekend by racking up 20,127 kilometers (12,506 miles) on stationary bikes, or roughly three times the distance from London to New Delhi. And in Canada, Sikhs have donated between $700 and $2,000 to each of dozens of people in need of costly oxygen cylinders. Also Read:India hits another grim record as it scrambles oxygen supply The magnitude of the response reflects the deep pockets of many people in the overseas Indian community, as well as their deep ties to India, which have fueled similar efforts to help the country in the past. “I feel that this crisis has kind of sparked or triggered a fresh and new emotional affiliation to India,” said Nishant Pandey, CEO of the American India Foundation. The group launched a fundraising drive on April 24 that raked in roughly $20 million in a week, much of it from the Indian diaspora. The money will be used in part to expand hospital capacity and oxygen production in India. India’s official count of coronavirus cases surpassed 20 million this week, and deaths officially topped 220,000, though the true numbers are believed to be much higher. “Mother India is in dire need of the non-resident Indians to step up,” Hemant Patel, a hotel developer from Miami, said in an appeal for aid on WhatsApp. His efforts helped generate more than $300,000 in medical donations, he said. Patel traveled to his hometown of Navsari in the state of Gujarat in March to visit his mother after getting vaccinated and is now serving as a liaison between local hospitals and Indians in the U.S. He has also donated eight oxygen machines —- holding a religious ceremony to bless the first one — and paid to have a van outfitted with a stretcher and oxygen to serve COVID-19 patients. “God has put me in the right place at the right time,” he said. Some members of the overseas Indian community have appended harsh words to their support efforts, accusing the Indian government of botching the fight against the virus. Others, especially medical professionals, wish they could go to India but face travel restrictions there and new ones in the U.S., Britain and Canada. Sunil Tolani, CEO of a hotel and real estate company in California, said he donated $300,000 to help people in India during the surge and lobbied the Biden administration to step up its support. Other prominent Indian Americans have also pressed the White House for action. “If India would have put their act together, they wouldn’t need this help in the first place,” Tolani said, accusing the government there of “total complacency and incompetence.” The surge in infections since February has been blamed on more contagious variants of the virus as well as government decisions to allow huge crowds to gather for Hindu religious festivals and political rallies. Also Read:India's virus surge damages Modi's image of competence A spokesman for the Indian government, Prakash Javadekar, said it is ramping up hospital capacity and supplies of oxygen and drugs but is facing a “once-in-a-century crisis.” The U.S. last week began delivering treatments, rapid virus tests and oxygen along with materials needed for India to boost production of COVID-19 vaccines. Britain is also sending a substantial amount of aid. More than 6 million people of Indian descent live in the two countries — part of a diaspora the Indian government estimates at over 32 million, including nearly 3.5 million in the United Arab Emirates and just under 3 million in Malaysia. Donations are pouring in from non-Indians and corporations as well. Sikhs for Justice, an advocacy group that calls for an independent state for Sikhs in India, said the Indian government blocked its COVID-19 relief website, oxygenfund.org, that aimed to connect Indians who can’t afford surging prices for oxygen to Sikhs in the U.S., Canada and other countries willing to send them money. The group turned to WhatsApp and by Monday had managed to provide assistance to nearly 150 people, said its general counsel, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun. An email to the Indian Embassy in Washington went unanswered. The Indian government has classified Sikhs for Justice as a terrorist group and banned it, Anshuman Gaur, India’s deputy high commissioner to Canada, told The Canadian Press. India is not shying away from soliciting help from its expatriates, continuing a long tradition of drawing on their money and patriotic fervor. In 1998, Indian leaders urged non-resident Indians to invest in the country by buying government bonds after the U.S. and other nations imposed sanctions against India for conducting nuclear tests. In 2001, disaster assistance from Indian Americans helped rebuild parts of Gujarat devastated by an earthquake that killed thousands. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in recent years has encouraged Indians overseas to contribute funds and expertise to his sanitation initiatives in India. During the current crisis, Indian consulate officials reached out to the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, which responded by raising more than $2 million in about a week, President Sudhakar Jonnalagadda said. The group, which represents more than 80,000 doctors in the U.S., has used the money to buy oxygen concentrators and plans to expand a telehealth network to allow patients in India to consult with physicians in the U.S. Also Read:Indian government faces lockdown calls, contempt charges The virus’s rapid spread in India has left few people in the diaspora untouched by tragedy. Sajal Rohatgi, co-founder of Subziwalla.com, a U.S.-based South Asian grocery delivery service, said dozens of friends and family in India have contracted the virus and two have died. He and the company’s other founder, Manav Thaker, arranged for a U.S. virologist to give a talk on Instagram about India’s COVID-19 crisis and how people there can try to stay safe — information they say is lacking there. Their hope is that Indian Americans will convey the importance of masks, social distancing and vaccinations to their friends and family in India. “We really just want to give the right, credible information,” Thaker said. “Then maybe we’ll get some relief.”
Infections in India hit another grim daily record on Thursday as demand for medical oxygen jumped seven-fold and the government denied reports that it was slow in distributing life-saving supplies from abroad. The number of new confirmed cases breached 400,000 for the second time since the devastating surge began last month. The 412,262 cases pushed India’s tally to more than 21 million. The Health Ministry also reported 3,980 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 230,168. Experts believe both figures are an undercount. Also Read:India's virus surge damages Modi's image of competence Eleven COVID-19 patients died as the pressure in the oxygen line dropped suddenly in a government medical college hospital in Chengalpet town in southern India on Wednesday night, possibly because of a faulty valve, The Times of India newspaper reported. Hospital authorities said they had repaired the pipeline last week, but the consumption of oxygen doubled since then, the daily said. Demand for hospital oxygen has increased seven times since last month, a government official said, as India scrambles to set up large oxygen plants and transport cryogenic tankers, cylinders and liquid oxygen. India created a sea bridge on Tuesday to ferry oxygen tankers from Bahrain and Kuwait in the Persian Gulf, officials said. Most hospitals in India aren’t equipped with independent plants that generate oxygen directly for patients, As a result, hospitals typically rely on liquid oxygen, which can be stored in cylinders and transported in cryogenic tankers. But amid the surge, supplies in hard-hit places like New Delhi are running critically short. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said India has enough liquid oxygen but it’s facing capacity constraint in moving it. Most oxygen is produced in the eastern parts of India while the demand has risen in northern and western parts. Also Read:Indian government faces lockdown calls, contempt charges K. Vijay Raghvan, a principal scientific adviser to the government, said this phase of the pandemic was “a very critical time for the country.” The United States, Britain, Germany and several other nations are rushing therapeutics, rapid virus tests and oxygen, along with materials needed to boost domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines to ease pressure on the fragile health infrastructure. India’s vaccine production is expected to get a boost with the United States supporting a waiver of intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccine components from the U.S. that had arrived in India will enable the manufacturing of 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, said Daniel B. Smith, the most senior diplomat at the embassy in New Delhi. Last month, Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of the Serum Institute of India, the world’s biggest vaccine maker, appealed to President Joe Biden to lift the embargo on U.S. export of raw materials, which, he said, was affecting its production of COVID-19 shots. Also Read:India reports over 380,000 new cases, tally at 20,665,148 The government meanwhile described as “totally misleading” Indian media reports that it took seven days for it to come up with a procedure for distributing urgent medical supplies that started arriving on April 25. The statement sad that a streamlined and systematic mechanism for allocation of the supplies received by India has been put in place for effective distribution. The Indian Red Cross Society is involved in distributing supplies from abroad, it said.
At least 22 Covid-19 patients on ventilator at a government hospital in the western Indian state of Maharashtra died on Wednesday after their oxygen supply ran out following leakage of the life-supporting gas from a tanker, officials said. The tanker was brought to Zakir Hussain Municipal Hospital in the state's Nashik district to replenish the oxygen cylinders at the medical facility for continuous supply to the 150-plus Covid-19 patients on life support. "As per current information, 22 people have died due to interrupted supply of oxygen at Zakir Hussain Municipal Hospital in Nashik," district collector Suraj Mandhare told the media. Local TV channels aired footage of oxygen leaking from the tanker stationed outside the hospital and firefighters trying their best to stop the leak by spraying water. Also Read: Indian capital gasps for oxygen Maharashtra's Health Minister Rajesh Tope said that the interrupted supply of oxygen could be linked to the deaths of the patients in the hospital and promised action against any negligence on part of the authorities concerned following a "free and fair probe". Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to social media to offer his condolences to the families of the deceased. "The tragedy at a hospital in Nashik because of oxygen tank leakage is heart-wrenching. Anguished by the loss of lives due to it," he tweeted. State Minister and son of Maharashtra Chief Minister Udhav Thackeray's son Aaditya also called the accident "extremely unfortunate". We all share in the grief of all these families. This unfortunate incident will be thoroughly investigated," he tweeted. The leakage of the life-supporting gas comes at a time when several Indian states are facing an acute shortage of oxygen cylinders. UNB also reported on Tuesday that several hospitals in the national capital were left with just a few hours of oxygen. Also read: 5 dead in fire at India's Covid vaccine facility Last week, India became the second worst-affected country in the world in terms of Covid cases. On Tuesday, India reported as many as 259,170 new cases and 1,761 fatalities in 24 hours, the highest daily death toll since the pandemic broke out in 2020. India's Covid tally and death toll currently stand at 1,53,21,089 and 1,80,530, respectively, according to the country's Health Ministry.