“Five more COVID-19 patients died in the last 24 hours, increasing the death toll from the pandemic to 168,” DGHS Additional Director General (administration) Prof Nasima Sultana told a virtual media briefing at the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in the city.
She said the tally of infections has soared to 7,667 in the same period after another 564 people tested positive for COVID-19 from 4965 samples.
Nasima said 10 more COVID-19 patients were cured in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 160.
Bangladesh confirmed the first coronavirus death on March 18, ten days after the detection of the first COVID-19 cases.
Among the COVID-19-infected cases, nearly 75 percent patients are taking treatment from their homes and many of them are being cured everyday after receiving treatment through hotlines, Nasima added.
She said among the five fatalities, two are in their 60s and three in their 40s. Of them, three are male and two female.
As of April 29, of the total fatalities, 85 deaths were recorded in Dhaka city and 39 in Narayanganj district. Of the total 163 deaths, 139 took place in Dhaka division and rests are in other seven divisions, the health official added.
Nasima said COVID-19 cases were found in 60 districts, meaning that almost all regions of the country are now risky for the fatal disease.
She dubbed Dhaka and Narayanganj COVID-19 as “hotspots” as the maximum number of cases were detected in the two cities.
As of April 29, Dhaka city has been considered as the worst-affected with 54.73 percent of COVID cases, while Dhaka division has remained at the top position with 85.35 percent infected cases out of total coronavirus patients, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) sources said.
Among the 60 districts infected by COVID-19, Narayanganj is the most hardest-hit district with 863 cases, it added.
It is followed by Gazipur with 320 positive cases, Kishoreganj with 197 cases, Narsingdi with 142 cases, Mymensingh with 125 cases, Dhaka district with 95 cases, Munshiganj with 109 cases, Chattogram with 70 cases, Gopalganj with 52, Barishal with 40 cases, Jashore with 62 cases, Habiganj with 48 cases, Cumilla with 81 cases and Jamalpur with 58 cases.
The worst hit areas of Dhaka city are Mirpur with 140 cases, Rajarbagh with 130 cases, Mohammadpur 65 with cases, Lalbagh 76 with cases, Jatrabari 70 with cases, Bangshal with 52 cases , Bashabo with 32 cases, Chakbazar 32 with cases, Kakrail with 74 cases, Wari 39 cases, Shahbag with 49 cases, Uttara with 55 cases, Tejgaon with 45 cases, Dhanmondi with 37 cases, Mugda with 43 cases and Mahakhali 54 cases.
Nasima said Bangladesh is witnessing a rapid rise of coronavirus cases since March 24 as 7,661 people tested positive for the virus during the time while the number was only 6 from March 8 to March 23 period.
She said a total of 64,666 samples have so far been tested since the detection of the first COVID-19 cases in the country.
The health official informed that at present, there are 29 labs in the country for testing samples of COVID-19.
Nasima said the government is gradually expanding testing facilities as part of its preventive measures to fight COVID-19.
The government has given approval to three more private hospitals — Evercare Hospital Dhaka, Square Hospital Limited and United Hospital Limited — for performing COVID-19 tests, she said, adding these hospitals have been given permission to conduct coronavirus tests for their admitted patients only.
“These hospitals will not be allowed to carry out tests of outdoor patients,” she explained.
They (the three private hospitals) will charge for each COVID-19 test as per the fixed rate by the government, Nasima added.
The health official said a process is underway to give permission to more private hospitals including LabAid Hospital, Ibn Sina Hospital and Tairunnessa Memorial Medical College and Hospital for performing COVID-19 tests.
The government will give testing permission of coronavirus to these hospitals after examining their PCR labs and other necessary medical equipment.
Simultaneously, these private hospitals must fulfill the required conditions set by the government to get the approval.
The health official said as coronavirus outbreak is on the rising trend in the country, the government has intensified its efforts including further extending general holidays till May 5, collecting quality logistics medical materials and increasing healthcare facilities to fight the pandemic.
“At present, over one lakh PCR kits are in stock in the country…the government is importing testing kits on regular basis as it is a very essential medical tool to determine coronavirus cases,” she said.
Nasima mentioned that two types of kits are needed for detection of COVID-19 cases. “Among them, one type is used for collecting samples of suspected virus cases while another type is used at COVID-19 testing labs,” she explained.
Describing the global perspective for purchasing PCR kits from foreign countries, the health official said, “We are importing PCR kits ranging from 20,000 to 40,000 per purchasing order as no country is selling more than 40,000 PCR kits at a time.”
The government is buying kits, which are being used for collecting samples of suspected COVID-19 cases, from local manufacturing companies, she said.
“There are 9738 isolation beds in the country,” Nasima said, adding 3944 of them are in Dhaka city.
The DGHS said nearly 1,86,519 people were kept at both home and institutional quarantine and 1,15,0037 people were released from quarantine, while the number of people who are now in quarantine is 71,882.
It said a total of 601 institutions have been prepared across the country for keeping over 30,635 people in quarantine, adding nearly 1,420 people have now been kept in isolation.
The health service organization said as part of taking preventative measures to stop imported cases of COVID-19, the authorities of all gateways, including airports, land ports and waterways, are continuing screening of all foreign returnees.
It said the government has collected 1,735,837 PPE so far, of which over 14,03398 were distributed and 3,32,439 are in stock.
The DGHS said the government is strictly maintaining standard of all kinds of protective equipment including PPE, surgical masks and gloves to ensure safety of medical professionals.
It said in case of critical COVID-19 patients, special facilities including oxygen, ICU and dialysis units are needed in hospitals. At present, the country has 341 ICUs and 102 dialysis units, it added.
The DGHS sources said till today, nearly 36,88,867 people received healthcare services from hotline mobile numbers and health web portals as the government formed a group of medical professionals to provide emergency health services.
The contact hotline and mobile numbers are 16263; 333; 10655 and 01944333222 – to receive information and treatment facilities on COVID-19.
As of April 30, 2020, 10.24 GMT, 228,517 people have died so far from the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak and there are 3,232,975 currently confirmed cases in 210 countries and territories, according to Worldometer, a reference website that provides counters and real-time statistics for diverse topics.
China was the world’s first country which on January 11 reported the first death from the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, the capital of Central China’s Hubei province.-BSS