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Public health experts said the situation in Munshiganj cannot be ignored and emergency measures can be taken to lock down the entire district as was done in the case of Chapainawabganj.

Or steps can be taken as were in Tollarbagh and East Rajarbagh of the capital city at the outset of the pandemic.

It should be determined if there are clusters where many Covid patients are concentrated in certain areas. Speedy action must be taken to tackle these clusters.

Adviser of the government's Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Mushtuq Husain told Prothom Alo that there probably were clusters in Munshiganj and this had to be brought under control.

After identifying the clusters, IEDCR, the civil surgeon's office and the local administration could have to work together, he said adding there perhaps would be no need for any restrictions.

Mushtuq said the Covid patients would have to be kept in isolation and members of their family would have to be quarantined.

Even though the spread of the virus has not fallen in Munshiganj, no restrictions have been put in place there. Other than educational institutions remaining closed, everything is going on as normal.

Other than Munshiganj, the detection rate of Covid cases in six other districts of the country over the past week was above 20 per cent. Three of the districts are in Dhaka division. These are Faridpur, Gopalganj and Shariatpur. The number of Covid cases and deaths had been high in Dhaka division from the start of the pandemic in the country. That trend continues.

The other three districts where the rates are over 20 per cent are Jhenaidah, Kushtia and Bhola.

Public health experts feel that emergency measures must be taken in these seven districts where the infection rates are above 20 per cent.

According to records of the Directorate General Health Services (DGHS), over the past week 2,087 sample tests were carried out in Munshiganj and 840 tested positive.

The rate of detection in this one week was 40.25 per cent. Over the past week, 15 persons died of coronavirus in the past week. Till yesterday, Sunday, 24 coronavirus patients were admitted in the district's government general hospital.

Speaking to Prothom Alo, Munshiganj's civil surgeon Abul Kalam Azad told Prothom Alo that it couldn't be determined why the rate of infections was so high. But, he added, the rate of deaths was less in comparison to other districts.

On 8 March last year the first coronavirus case was detected in the country. And the second wave of coronavirus started in March this year. The number of cases and deaths was comparatively higher in the second wave.

From June this year, the Delta variant spread around the country and the number of Covid cases increased. Towards the end of June, the number of deaths began to increase. In July the situation took an alarming turn. Then after strict restrictions were enforced, the number of patients detected against sample tests began to fall. Almost all restrictions were lifted from 11 August.

Even though the spread of the virus has not fallen in Munshiganj, no restrictions have been put in place there. Other than educational institutions remaining closed, everything is going on as normal. Even health regulations are not being followed in many instances.

The infections are the highest in the sadar upazila of this district. More people gather there too. Ever since the restrictions were lifted, there have been all sorts of social and political programmes there every day. Large crowds assemble, increasing the risks of the virus spreading. No extra measures have been adopted to bring the transmissions under control there.

Munshiganj deputy commissioner and head of the district corona prevention committee, Kazi Nahid Rasul, told Prothom Alo that from the very start of the corona outbreak, public awareness initiatives had been taken in every pourashava, union, ward, village and locality as well as in religious establishments. There is need for individual awareness to prevent the spread of the virus. Everyone should increase their awareness at an individual level in consideration of themselves and their families.

Over 26,000 corona deaths

Meanwhile in the country, according to DGHS, another 89 persons died of coronavirus in the 24 hours between Saturday 8:00am and Sunday 8:00am. This brings the number of corona deaths up to 26,015 in the country. Over the past 9 days, 1000 persons died of the virus in the country.

Public health experts say that after the restrictions were lifted, people were crowding all over like before. Health regulations were not being enforced. If things continued this way, the situation could suddenly deteriorate again at any time.

* This report appeared in the print and online editions of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten in English by Ayesha Kabir

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