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Twenty beds will be added to each Upazila Health Complex in nine upazilas of the district for treating Covid patients, he added.

“Two more 300-bed private hospitals will also be turned into corona hospitals to reduce the huge pressure of Covid patients on the already-stretched Sher-e-Bangla Medical College and Hospital,” the health director said.

These decisions were taken at a virtual meeting with the divisional committee of the health ministry, in view of the worsening Covid-19 situation in the division, said Basudev.

Barishal deputy commissioner Jashim Uddin Haider presided over the meeting held on Monday.

Tayubur Rahman, deputy director of the divisional family planning department, said, “We can start admitting pregnant women at the Ma O Sishu Kalyan Kendra from Wednesday but the physicians and the nurses at the centre need proper training.”

“Besides, there is no oxygen plant available. However, steps are being taken to open it at the earliest,” he added.

HM Saiful Islam, director of Sher-e-Bangla Medical College and Hospital, said, “The diarrhoea and general wards of Barishal General Hospital were shifted to Sher-e-Bangla Medical College and Hospital, and the General Hospital is being prepared for corona unit, but only outdoor services will be available at the hospital.”

Steps are taken to prepare the 100-bed Ambia Memorial Hospital and 250-bed South Apollo Medical College & Hospital as Covid hospital if the situation worsens further, he said.

According to the health authorities, Barishal division has logged as many as 16 new Covid deaths in 24 hours till Wednesday morning. Another 773 people were found infected with the virus during the same period.

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