After Bangladesh reported its first coronavirus cases, the government has assured people that it is prepared to tackle the situation and urged everyone to adopt safety measures instead of panicking.
The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) confirmed the first cases of Covid-19 inside Bangladesh on Sunday. The development forced the government to reschedule the birth centenary programmes of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Meanwhile, panic buying pushed up prices of face masks and hand sanitisers. The High Court on Monday ordered operating mobile court to check the prices while the government fixed prices of sanitisers.
Below is the development since Sunday.
First Coronavirus Cases Reported
At Sunday’s regular media briefing, IEDCR Director Professor Meerjady Sabrina Flora announced diagnosing three people – two men and a woman – with Covid-19.
“Two of them have recently returned from Italy. Their condition is stable now,” she said.
However, no coronavirus case was reported in the next 24 hours until Monday morning. Prof Flora said they have tested samples collected from four people and none of them were found positive.
IEDCR suggested avoiding unnecessary public gathering to contain spread of the virus, first reported in China’s Wuhan.
Coronavirus Death Toll 3,830
Global death toll from the virus climbed to 3,830 on Monday while the number of infection rose to 110,071, according to Worldometer. Besides, 62,280 infected people made full recovery.
COVID-19 has affected 109 countries and territories and one international conveyance – the Diamond Princess Cruise ship harboured in Yokohama, Japan.
Don’t Panic: PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, at the weekly cabinet meeting on Monday, urged countrymen not to panic and avoid mass gatherings.
“The Prime Minister requested everyone not to panic … Since it’s contagious, her directive is to avoid mass gatherings as much as possible,” Health Services Division Secretary Md Ashadul Islam told the media.
He said the government started taking preparations from the very beginning of the coronavirus outbreak in China.
“We’ve taken a three-tier measure in the wake of coronavirus outbreak. The first measure was to prevent the entry of the virus into Bangladesh, while the second one is controlling its transmission in the case of entry and the third is the overall management in this regard,” he said.
“There’s no need to panic,” the secretary said.
‘Mujib Borsho’ Programme Rescheduled
Year-long programmes taken to celebrate the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman during the ‘Mujib Borsho’ were rearranged.
The grand inaugural ceremony, scheduled for March 17, will be held later due to the prevailing situation across the world caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Other celebration programmes will also be observed avoiding massive public gatherings.
The decisions to reschedule the programmes were taken on Sunday at a meeting in presence of the Prime Minister and her sister Sheikh Rehana.
Masks, Hand Sanitiser Prices Skyrocket
Panic buying of face masks, toilet paper and hand sanitiser after confirmation of coronavirus cases has pushed up their prices.
Traders said people are stockpiling the items out of panic. Masks were selling at exorbitant prices in several markets in the capital on Monday.
Traders said the price of masks increased by more than 200 percent because of huge demand. The price will see further hike if there is no adequate supply.
Qatar Suspends Entry From Bangladesh
Qatar suspended entry of travellers to the country from 14 countries, including Bangladesh, as a preventive measure to limit the spread of Coronavirus.
The other countries are – China, Egypt, India, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Syria and Thailand, according to a statement.
“The decision affects all individuals intending to enter from these countries, including visas upon arrival, those with a residence or work permit, and temporary visitors,” it said.
2 Italy-Returnees Hospitalised
Two more Italy-returnees were sent to a hospital with the ‘symptoms of coronavirus’ after they land at Hazrat Shahajalal International Airport on Monday.
"They were sent to Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital as they had symptoms of coronavirus infection," said Shahriar Sazzad, health officer-in-charge of Health Centre at Hazrat Shahajalal International Airport.
Border Haat Shut
An announcement was made about closing down the border haats of Chhagalnaiya of Feni and Srinagar of India for an indefinite period as a precautionary measure.
President of haat management committee and Additional District Magistrate Golam Zakaria confirmed the decision on Monday.
No Decision Yet On Educational Institutions
The government is yet to take any decision on whether educational institutions will remain open across the country amid reports of coronavirus cases.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni said they will take a decision over shutting educational institutions based on experts’ opinion.
“The current situation does not call for closing educational institutions,” she said. “They will be shut based on opinions from IEDCR.”
‘Govt Fully Ready’
Health Minister Zahid Maleque said the government is fully prepared to tackle the situation.
“The government has deployed medical teams at airports and land ports. Those coming from abroad are undergoing tests. The government is alert about the situation,” he said in an interview with UNB.
Replying to a query, the minister said Kuwait Bangladesh Friendship Government Hospital has been kept ready to provide care to coronavirus-infected patients.
Besides, he said, 20 intensive care units are ready while quarantine wards have been opened in each hospital across the country.