Tolarbagh is one of the few areas in Dhaka which effectively followed the lockdown protocol. The contagion is on a rise in the other areas of the city
Tolarbagh is one of the few areas in Dhaka which effectively followed the lockdown protocol. The contagion is on a rise in the other areas of the cityAshraful Alam

The incidence of COVID-19 is increasing in the capital city Dhaka and 31 areas of the city have a markedly higher number of cases. Over half of the city’s confirmed coronavirus cases are in these 31 areas. And the spread of the virus in these areas is on a rise.

According to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), till 15 May coronavirus cases have been confirmed in 183 areas of Dhaka city. The number of cases in these areas ranges from the lowest of 48 cases to the highest of 223. Over the past 15 says, the increase of cases in these areas (with the exception of 3) has been from 34 to 79 per cent. The contagion is gradually increasing in other areas as well. Over the last 15 days, cases have been detected in 15 new areas.

There are 8,593 confirmed patients in Dhaka city at the moment. This is 57.89 per cent of the total cases across the country.

IEDCR records 8,593 coronavirus cases in the capital. Of these, there are area-wise details of 4,912 cases. According to this, around 63 per cent of the cases are in the 31 areas.

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Within a month of the first COVID-19 case being detected in the country, on 5 April IEDCR identified 5 clusters, 2 of which were in Dhaka. One was in Tolarbagh, Mirpur and the other was Bashabo. Till 5 April, there were 6 cases in Tolarbagh and 9 in Bashabo. Till then, cases had been confirmed in 29 areas of the city. The total number of cases in the capital till then was 52.

In order to restrict the spread of the disease, certain buildings and lanes in these areas were partially locked down. But the contagion could not be contained in any of the areas other than in Tolarbagh. In a matter of one and a half months, the virus has spread to 183 areas of the city. In 10 particular areas, one in every 100 person had contracted the virus.

There are 8,593 confirmed patients in Dhaka city at the moment. This is 57.89 per cent of the total cases across the country.

According to records till 15 May, the 31 areas with the highest incidence of coronavirus in the city are Mohakhali (223 cases), Jatrabari (221), Rajarbagh (204), Mugda (189), Mohammedpur (189), Kakrail (176), Tejgaon (138), Lalbagh (119), Babubazar (115), Uttara (104), Maghbazar (98), Dhanmondi (94), Malibagh(93), Badda (90), Bangshal (82), Khilgaon (80), Shahbagh (73), Gandaria (73), Chawkbazar (70), Shyamoli (65), Wari (64), Gulshan (63), Bashabo (58), Rampura (58), Agargaon (57), Hazaribagh (57), Ramna (50), Swamibagh (49), Mirpur-1 (48), Mirpur-11 (48) and Banani (48).

The upward curve

Till now in the capital city, Mohakhali has the highest number of coronavirus cases. The city’s two largest slums are in Mohakhali and Gulshan. Gulshan, located next to Mohakhali, also had a high incidence of coronavirus. A month ago, on 15 April, there had been 10 cases in Mohakhali. Till 30 April that increased to 64. Two weeks from then, on 15 May the number stood at 223. That was a 71 per cent increase in a matter of 2 weeks.

A month ago in Jatrabari the number of coronavirus positive cases was 19. That has now gone up to 221. Even after the government declared an official holiday, crowds would still throng the Jatrabari bazaar. However, it is not confirmed whether this is the reason for the highest incidence of the disease in the area. Till 30 April there had been 91 cases in the area. In two weeks since then the number crossed 200, a 58 per cent increase.

The number of cases in Rajarbagh a month ago had been 6. That has now gone up to 204. Most of the affected persons were policemen. However, over the past two weeks the increase in cases in the area has been relatively low. There has been a 32 per cent increase in two weeks, the total number of confirmed cases in Rajarbagh now 138.

IEDCR consultant, epidemiologist Mushtaq Hossain told Prothom Alo, the capital city is densely populated and the lockdown has been relaxed. Most people, particularly of the lower income group, hardly have any separate space for quarantining themselves. That is why the coronavirus cases are higher in the capital city.

Mugda had one 1 coronavirus patient a month ago and now the area has 189. Till 30 April the count was 62. That means there another 127 per sons contracted the virus in the two-week span.

Mohammedpur was among one of the first areas where the virus began to spread in the city. At one point the COVID-19 transmission has slowed down in the area, but over the past 2 weeks the curve has taken on an upward trend again. Till 15 April there were 10 confirmed coronavirus cases in Mohammedpur. By 30 April the number went up to 68. Then there was a 64 per cent spurt in the cases over the past two weeks, bringing the total number of cases there up to 189.

The highest rate of increase in coronavirus cases in the city has been in Agargaon, which has seen a 79 per cent increase over the past 2 weeks. Till 30 April, 12 cases had been identified there and now the total number of confirmed cases in Agargaon is 57.

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Among the 31 areas, the rate of increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has been relatively less in Kakrail, Shahbagh and Rajarbagh (23 per cent to 32 per cent). The rate of increase in other areas in the corresponding period has been 34 per cent to 79 per cent. There has been a 60 per cent increase in cases in Ramna, Tejgaon, Babubazar, Dhanmondi, Khilgaon, Shyamoli and Rampura, where there are over 50 cases in each area.

The transmission of COVID-19 is on a rise all over the city. While there are less than 50 cases in Adabor, Azimpur, Maniknagar, Eskaton and Green Road, the virus is rapidly spreading in these areas too.

IEDCR consultant, epidemiologist Mushtaq Hossain told Prothom Alo, the capital city is densely populated and the lockdown has been relaxed. Most people, particularly of the lower income group, hardly have any separate space for quarantining themselves. That is why the coronavirus cases are higher in the capital city. The areas should be divided up and health workers, administrative personnel and volunteers assigned to each area. Institutional quarantine facilities must be increased. Containment zones must be set up in areas where the incidence of coronavirus is high and all necessary assistance must be provided to these areas. Mushtaq Hossain said that if the number of cases in the capital surges too high, it will be extremely difficult to control the situation.

This report has been rewritten in English by Ayesha Kabir