Deaths, new cases climb | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 23, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:58 AM, May 23, 2020

Deaths, new cases climb

24 more die; positive cases top 30,000; many still ignore health safety, distancing in city

While the number of Covid-19 positive cases as well as deaths keep rising every day, with Dhaka worst affected, many are still indifferent to maintaining social distancing and health safety guidelines.

Take, for instance, Azmat Bepari, a jaundice patient. Rubbing hands with quicklime, Azmat leant before a quack who poured some water onto his head. And with his bare hands, he gently massaged Azmat's head.

When the quack, Abdul Alim, aged around 60, was showing his "miracle" in treating jaundice patients in the capital's Jatrabari, 20 people had crowded around to be treated in a similar fashion.

Most of them had no masks and had gathered in such a way that it would be hard to imagine that they were in the midst of a pandemic caused by the highly transmissible Covid-19 virus, which has killed over 3.35 lakh people globally in less than five months.

The country yesterday recorded its highest death toll -- 24 -- in a single day. The overall death toll now stands at 432, said the Directorate General of Health Services.

Addressing the regular briefing on the Covid-19 situation, Prof Nasima Sultana, additional director general (administration) of DGHS, said 1,694 people tested Covid-19 positive in 24 hours since Thursday morning.

Since March 8, some 30,205 people have been infected with the novel coronavirus in the country, she said.

Shafiun Shimul, an associate professor of Health Economics at Dhaka University, said if the current trend continues, the infection rate in the country will increase until the end of June.

An effective lockdown for at least two weeks can bring down the infection rate, he opined.


The government, health experts, and campaigners have been asking people to maintain social distancing and hygiene, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears as many do not follow it.

Dhaka city has the highest number of Covid-19 cases, and Jatrabari ranks as the second-most affected area where these quacks con people every day.

"They are fooling people. But what is more alarming is the crowd and the method used to treat jaundice patients," said Raju Ahmed, who was present at the spot near Shahid Faruque Road.

Raju, who works at an RFL showroom, said this increases the risk of spreading coronavirus.

Quack Alim said he has been treating patients for a long time and nothing has happened. "There is no possibility of spreading coronavirus from here," he claimed.

People also go to salons -- which also carries the risk of spreading the virus.

Md Sumon, owner of a salon in Swamibagh, said he opened his shop last week. "I clean scissors regularly," he claimed when asked about maintaining hygiene.

Besides, people were also seen violating social distancing directives at some kitchen markets in the capital. Eid shoppers also ignore the directive.

Prof Muzaherul Huq, former adviser (Southeast Asia Region) of the WHO, said awareness campaigns were not being conducted properly.

"We could not motivate and convince them to maintain hygiene and social distancing," he said.

He suggested following the social distancing directive strictly.


During yesterday's briefing, Prof Nasima asked people to act responsibly and refrain from visiting relatives during Eid.

"It's a war-like situation. We need to show mental strength," she said, adding, "When you are travelling to your near and dear ones, you are also increasing their risk of being infected."

Some 9,727 samples were tested in the past 24 hours, she said.

Around 588 more people have recovered.

Of the 24 dead, 15 breathed their last at hospitals and eight at home. One died on the way to a hospital. Thirteen were from Dhaka division, nine from Chattogram, and one each from Barishal and Mymensingh. 


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