Deadly “delta variant” of coronovirus now appeared to have expanded its claws on Dhaka, mounting pressures on health facilities in the capital while it continued to scratch north and southwestern regions bordering India, officials and experts said today.
Authorities last week ordered a lockdown in seven central districts surrounding Dhaka in an effort to isolate the capital from rest of the country to prevent community transmission in view of rising infection cases in bordering regions.But experts said the virus variant made its ways to the capital through community transmission, while doctors said the number of COVID-19 patients was increasing every day at hospitals.
The country’s biggest state-run health facility, Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH), said 80 percent of their COVID-19 patients were residents of the capital city while their number was increasing every day.
"The number of COVID-19 patient is increasing everyday at DMCH and 80 percent of them are residents of Dhaka city . . . this means infection rate is increasing in the capital,” DMCH Director Brigadier General Md Nazmul Haque told journalists.
Haque said the current number of COVID-19 patients in DMCH was nearly four times higher than that of last month and feared if this trend continued “all general and ICU beds here will be fulfilled within 10 to 12 days”.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Hospital reported a nearly identical picture with its additional director Nazmul Karim Manik saying, "pressure (of coronavirus patients) is mounting gradually and most of them are Dhaka city dwellers".
"During the month of June, hospitalization rate of COVID patients in Dhaka city is gradually increasing," he added.Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Director Prof Dr Tahmina Shirin reconfirmed the DMCH and BSMMU observations saying coronavirus infection rate is increasing in Dhaka city,
"During the current month, hospitalization rate of coronavirus positive patients in Dhaka city is increasing . . . simultaneously sample test result also indicates a sharp rise of COVID-19 in the capital city," she said.
Shirin, however, said the districts bordering India were more exposed to Delta variant compared to Dhaka while Manik of BSMMU rephrased the statement saying transmission rate was still lower in Dhaka compared to border districts.
The IEDCR official reconfirmed an alarming trend of community transmission of Delta variant in the country saying “this Delta variant is largely responsible for recent spike of coronavirus".
“Effective measures are only remedy to protect Bangladesh from this notorious variant as it is far more contagious compared to other variants . . . we must stop rampant people's movement in border districts to contain the community transmission,” Shirin said.
The National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19 yesterday recommended "complete nationwide shutdown" for 14 days to contain transmission of COVID-19.
Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) statistics suggests out of 8,66,877 reported infection cases until June 24, over 5,07710 were detected alone in Dhaka district including the capital city.
In the past 24 hours, combined figure of coronavirus of Dhaka city and upazilas of Dhaka district is 1,572 while the tally of infections in the country has stood at 6,058 during the same period.
As of June 24, DGHS said, out of 13,787 fatalities, 7,434 deaths occurred in Dhaka division, 2,620 in Chattogram, 916 in Rajshahi, 1,068 in Khulna, 410 in Barishal, 506 in Sylhet, 548 in Rangpur and 289 in Mymensingh division.