Meerjady Sabrina Flora, the director at the government’s disease control agency IEDCR, has warned that the coronavirus outbreak in Bangladesh will become an epidemic if people do not follow the stringent guidelines on social distancing.
Issuing the grim warning, she said the country is at the third stage of the outbreak now as the number of COVID-19 cases has started to rise sharply while the world is grappling with the pandemic.
Bangladesh had already passed the first two stages – some imported cases and then local transmission from overseas returnees.
In the third stage, which it is now, people in large areas are getting infected from specific places, reports bdnews24.com.
The fourth stage is epidemic.
The number of new cases has been jumping daily since Apr 4 amid a nationwide shutdown of offices and transport system. As many as 21 of the 64 districts have confirmed COVID-19 patients now.
On Wednesday, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research reported 54 new confirmed coronavirus cases, taking the tally to 218 while the death toll rose to 20 from 17.
“Coronavirus has spread through communities, but on a limited scale. We are emphasising social distancing now. We will enter the fourth stage if we don’t follow social distancing rules properly,” Flora told bdnews24.com later in the night.
She said the IEDCR was tracing close contacts of the COVID-19 patients, but had failed in some of the cases.
Abul Kalam Azad, the director general of health services, said the government was reviewing the course of action by analysing the data daily.
He vented his frustration at the members of the public breaking the new "stay at home" rules despite bolstered efforts by the local administrations, armed forces and law enforcement.
“The stringent rules will come to nothing if the people don’t consciously stick to them. They must stay at home to protect themselves from the disease,” he said.
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