'Next two weeks crucial for Bangladesh's coronavirus fight'

Jakia Ahmed
Published : 21:04, Mar 31, 2020 | Updated : 21:31, Mar 31, 2020

The upcoming two weeks are crucial in the fight against coronavirus and community transmission, according to experts. PHOTO: BANGLA TRIBUNE/Sazzad HossainThe upcoming two weeks are crucial in the fight against coronavirus and community transmission, according to experts.
The government had announced a shutdown till Apr 4 which led to majority of people leaving Dhaka. However, it has decided to extend the shutdown till Apr 11.
Experts say that if they have been infected, the symptoms will show in few days given that the incubation period for the virus is 14 days.
However, the consequences will be dire if anyone infected comes back and mixes with the regular crowd.
IEDCR chief Meerjady Sebrina Flora says that despite the government order on leaving the house on a strictly need basis, many people are seen out and about on the streets
“Those who are being asked to stay home should do it. Staying home is extremely important. These instructions are meant for everyone’s safety,” she said.
Medical Anthropologist Atiq Hassan told Bangla Tribune that cases in Germany, France and Italy started surging during the third week and shot through the roof during the fourth.
He added that most of those who contracted the virus transmitted it to a healthy person who showed symptoms within 14 to 21 days.
Saying that Bangladesh is comparatively safer than other countries with the announcement of a shutdown, he added, “But it will take another three to four weeks to understand how many people were infected before the lockdown.”
Hassan added that cases in Bangladesh might surge in the first and second week of April.
According to him, if the shutdown is extended, the infected people will have completed their incubation period and cases will drop by the second week of May.
Describing the number of people out on the streets alarming,, Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College and Hospital Virology Department Assistant Professor Dr Zahidur Rahman said that the shutdown needs to be extended for another two weeks.
“And it can’t be a general holiday like this time. People need to be given specific instructions ,” he said.
Emphasising that the next 15 days are crucial, he said that the suspected cases need to be tracked down as well.
Meanwhile, public health and disaster management expert says, “In case of a pandemic, the infectious rate needs to be determined. In China initially one person infected four people. However, with lockdowns the number came down to 0.4.”
Virologist and former Vice Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Medical University Dr Nazrul Islam says that the quarantine day must be counted from the day the people left Dhaka to 14 days.
He said that may patients showing symptoms of the virus, died without tests and its imperative that their samples are collected.
“If those show positive, we have to understand community transmission has started. Hence the next 14 days are crucial,” he said.
Meanwhile, the government on Tuesday (Mar 31) extended the office shutdown period to Apr 11 in order to contain virus that has so far infected 51 and killed five people.
As of Tuesday more than 777,000 people have been infected across the world and over 37,500 have died.