Beginning in March 2021, a downtrend in infection of the second wave started in mid-April. The rate of infection deceased almost every day since 16 April. The trend continued until 6 May. Then it stopped. The rate of detecting patients against the total tests was 8.90 per cent in the last five days (7-11 May). Infection rate was 8.80 per cent for the previous five days (2-6 May).
However, experts said the imposition Covid-19 restrictions for a long time is not possible. In that case, it is necessary to ensure health rules, keeping Covid-19 patients in isolation, placing people who came in contact with the patients in quarantine and ensuring surveillance in the bordering areas.
The first case of coronavirus was reported in the country on 8 March last year. Then a general holiday was declared for 66 consecutive days from 26 March to stem the spread of the virus.
At that time, a lockdown-like situation had been created by shutting communication, businesses and factories. However, apparel factories and shops selling iftar items had reopened from 26 April amid last year’s general holidays. And exactly after two weeks (10-16 May), the situation started deteriorating.
Last year, Eid-ul-Fitr was celebrated on 25 May. Before that, malls reopened on 10 May for Eid shopping. Large number of people moved to villages. Infection rate crossed 20 per cent on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr for the first time. Then the peak of the first wave started. Infection jumped again two weeks after Eid with daily caseloads crossing, on average, 3,000. Rate of infection also started increasing. Infection rate was more than 20 per cent until the third week of August. It then began to drop. The infection situation was somewhat under control from mid-December.
The second wave of infection hit the country in March this year. The infection reached its peak between the last week of March and the first week of April with more than 7,000 cases being detected daily. At one point, daily death toll crossed 100. The government imposed Covid-19 restrictions on 5 April to stem the second wave of virus. Strict restrictions were imposed after a week. As a result, a downtrend in infection began in mid-April. Infection rate dropped below 10 per cent on the first day of this May. Meanwhile, malls reopened on 25 April. Public transport started running on 6 May and the downtrend in infection came to a halt from 7 May.
Huge crowds have been thronging shopping malls and markets in the capital and various districts. In a huddle, thousands of people are leaving Dhaka. Particularly, two crossing points of ferries en route to southern region are seen overcrowded. Health rules are not being ensured there. So it’s likely to spread the infection.
Director general of DGHS, Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam told an online briefing on 11 May that they are very concerned over the movement of huge number people centering the Eid.
Because of such movement of people, a third wave of Covid-19 will begin when we are struggling to bring the second wave under control. Then Eid-ul-Adza will come while controlling the third wave. If the movement continues like this time, it (wave of infection) will not end. “If we ourselves bring our destruction, then it will be difficult to get rid of this menace,” he added.
A research, conducted by Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) recently, showed 61 per cent of Covid-19 patients either went to markets or used public transport. These two places are most risky areas for infection. More people are gathering at these two places after the restrictions were relaxed.
Adviser of IEDCR Mushtaq Hussain told Prothom Alo that a second wave of Covid-19 started in the western countries after Christmas as more people moved during that time. Malls are more crowded for Eid shopping and ferries are crammed with people too. Health rules are not being followed there. Consequently, infection is likely to rise in a week after Eid and deaths in next three weeks.
Mushtaq Hussain advised Eid congregations to be held in open spaces, maintaining social distancing.
"Law doesn’t work all the time. There must be a cooperative attitude. We have to work to change the behaviour of the people," Mushtaq Hussain added.
*This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Hasanul Banna