default-image

Novel coronavirus is mostly spreading from public transport, prayer houses, public gathering and tourist centres, according to a government document.

If the infection trend is taken into consideration, the coronavirus situation in the country will be critical in the next two weeks.

Under the circumstance, everyone has been asked to remain alert so that the mistakes earlier made to tackle Covid-19 are not repeated in the future.

This information has been found in a resolution of a review meeting on the capacity of the health services division to tackle coronavirus.

The meeting presided over by the principal secretary of the prime minister's office was held on 25 March.

Sources said the health ministry in fact could not take proper steps rather than a few decisions including following health guidelines, increasing awareness and turning beds of non-Covid hospitals into Covid hospitals.

When asked about the matter, health minister Zahid Maleque told Prothom Alo, “There was nothing wrong with our efforts. As the vaccination started, people became over-confident. They crowded at the sea beach as well as wedding parties, Islamic congregations and political rallies, flouting all health guidelines. Such crowding increased the risk of virus infection.”

He said the 18-point directive and the ongoing seven-day lockdown have to be followed. "We cannot increase the beds of hospitals if we want."

About the doses of vaccines, Zahid Maleque said, "We have not yet received our purchased vaccines. Now it is April. It is a matter of concern."

Proposal to tackle coronavirus

Advertisement

According to a government report till March 2020, as many as 10,500 beds and 549 ICU beds in 97 coronavirus dedicated public and private hospitals across the country are being used for treating coronavirus patients. Moreover, at least five beds at each district and upazila are ready for Covid patients.

Services are being delivered through some 13,415 oxygen cylinders, 955 high flow nasal cannulas, 799 oxygen concentrators and 573 ventilators.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, it was noticed that there was no coordination among the different ministries. The meeting held on 25 March put an emphasis on strengthening coordination among all ministries.

Besides, all types of committees from the national level to the union level have to be made functional as well accountable. The frontline health workers have to be trained up and they will be facilitated with all necessary supports including safety gears.

The meeting also stressed to expand coronavirus testing capacity.

The health ministry is planning to bring the 1,500-bed Mohakhali Covid-19 isolation center to the central management system and dedicating 500 beds of the Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital for Covid-19 treatment.

Uncertainty over availability of vaccines

So far, the government received 1.02 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines, 7 million doses under a tripartite agreement and 3.2 million as gifts.

Health ministry sources said there will be a crisis of vaccines.

The mass-level vaccination could be continued till as long as the stock is available.

Officials said the government’s move to import vaccines from Russia and China is yet to get positive response.

About the overall situation, Bangladesh Medical Association’s secretary general Ehteshamul Huq Choudhury told Prothom Alo, “The positive thing is that most of the Covid-19 hospitals are much more prepared than the previous time. The arrangement of ICU beds, supply of oxygen and testing facilities seem to be satisfactory. The frontline medical staff members are more confident.”

He, however, added that health ministry failed to implement its decision strictly. There was a lack of coordination in the ministry, Ehteshamul Huq Choudhury added.

*This report appeared in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo, has been rewritten in English by Sadiqur Rahman

Advertisement
Read more from Bangladesh