Experts fear Bangladesh may brace for second wave of coronavirus infection

  • Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-09-21 03:33:14 BdST

bdnews24
Passengers ignore physical distancing rules while getting on or off waterbuses at Sadarghat in Dhaka amid a coronavirus outbreak. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

The coronavirus epidemic in Bangladesh has remained almost unchanged after the daily infection rate dropped slightly, but experts have warned that a second wave may be coming.

The national technical advisory committee on tackling COVID-19 issued the warning in a statement after a meeting on Sunday, stressing the need for steps to ensure the health rules.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also asked all to be prepared to tackle a possible rise in coronavirus infections in the upcoming winter, when she said the situation “may worsen slightly”.

Globally, around 30.8 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and over 957,000 have died from the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus.

More than 210 countries and territories have reported infections since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

After reopening the economies following months of lockdown to stem the pandemic, the numbers of infections have begun rising in different European countries in what many fear the second wave.

The World Health Organisation has recently warned that COVID-19 is spreading at a worrying pace in some parts of the northern hemisphere, a few months away from the winter influenza season.

The caseload in Bangladesh has neared 350,000 with around 4,940 deaths since the government detected the first COVID-19 patients in March.

Initially, the authorities were strict in enforcing a lockdown to stem the spread of the virus while the people appeared aware of the gravity of the situation, but they are becoming more and more indifferent.

Referring to the public apathy towards following the health rules, the committee to tackle COVID-19 said it is happening when Bangladesh is resuming travel with different countries that are experiencing a second wave of the outbreak.

“These are reasons to fear a wave of infection in Bangladesh again. Besides taking steps to prevent a second wave of infection, we should be prepared to ensure health care if it really happens,” the committee said.

It believes Bangladesh still needs isolation centres for suspected patients and those who have tested positive for the coronavirus as the government has begun cutting the number of COVID-19 hospitals.

The experts advised the government to make a to-do list to avert a possible second wave of infection and take preparations in case the number of cases rises.

More tests are needed to detect the second wave as well, it said.

It emphasised strengthening screening and isolation of travellers at airports and borders as many Bangladeshis are returning home amid the pandemic.