Covid-19 situation in Bangladesh: Things can get out of hand fast

Bangladesh reported its first two cases of Omicron on December 9. The number has now gone up to 30.

Moudud Ahmmed Sujan, Sumon Ali

Moudud Ahmmed Sujan, Sumon Ali

The Daily Star


In a festive mood, students of different schools and colleges gather at MA Aziz Stadium in Chattogram to receive Covid-19 jabs. The stadium was one of the three vaccination centres for children in the port city. The photo was taken yesterday. Photo: Rajib Raihan

January 12, 2022

DHAKA – With the health directorate reporting 2,458 new Covid cases yesterday, the highest in four months, experts warned that the pandemic situation, fuelled by community transmission of Omicron variant, may get worse fast.

In 24 hours preceding 8:00am yesterday, the positivity rate was 8.97 percent against 27,399 tests, up from the previous day’s 8.53 percent.

“The community transmission of Omicron has started as the cases are jumping almost every day. The situation may get worse soon. A similar trend has been seen in other countries too,” Dr Mushtuq Husain, consultant at the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, told The Daily Star yesterday.

During the 24-hour period, two Covid patients died, raising the total number of Covid fatalities in the country to 28,107.

Bangladesh reported its first two cases of Omicron on December 9. The number has now gone up to 30.

Different studies indicate that Omicron can transmit 70 times faster than the main variant of the novel coronavirus.

“The number of genome sequence to detect the variant is inadequate, but the clinical data indicates the Omicron is causing the rise in transmission,” Prof Ridwanur Rahman, an infectious disease specialist, told this newspaper earlier this week.

On January 1, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) reported 370 cases with positivity rate of around 2 percent. Yesterday’s figure was 2,458, which is around seven times higher than that of January 1.

To contain the transmission, the Cabinet Division on Monday issued a notice with an 11-point directive, including wearing masks outdoors, from January 13.

The government has also made producing vaccination proof mandatory in multiple cases including at restaurants, for drivers and other staffers while operating public transport, and in schools for students.

Experts, however, said it would be tough to implement the directives as around 25 percent of the 80 percent target population are yet to get the first dose of Covid vaccine.

“It was urgent to ensure vaccine for all first before issuing such directives. Otherwise, it is not possible to enforce the directives,” Prof ABM Abdullah, renowned medicine specialist, told this correspondent yesterday.

Dr Mushtuq, however, said otherwise.

“It will be tough initially. But the government has set up vaccination camps up to ward level. So, people can take vaccines easily,” he added.

Warning that the transmission of Omicron would put pressure on hospitals soon, the public health expert stressed on ensuring that everyone wears masks outdoors and limiting large gatherings to slow down the transmission.

Meanwhile, the bed occupancy rate in the Covid-19 hospitals has increased to nine percent yesterday, up from 6 percent on January 1.

scroll to top