World, Asia - Pacific

Bangladesh mourns death of 1st doctor from coronavirus

More than 100 doctors and nurses have been infected by virus amid lack of protective equipment

Md. Kamruzzaman and SM Najmus Sakib   | 15.04.2020
Bangladesh mourns death of 1st doctor from coronavirus

DHAKA, Bangladesh

A doctor died in Bangladesh on Wednesday due to coronavirus, the first such case in the country, as health workers bemoan lack of protective equipment at hospitals nationwide.

Dr. Moyeen Uddin, 50, died at a hospital in the capital Dhaka.

His colleague, Dr. Abdul Mannan said he was transferred to the capital from the eastern city of Sylhet after his condition deteriorated on April 8. The colleague added it is unclear how he contracted the virus.

Dr. Jahir Ahmed, his friend, said Moyeen was treating COVID-19 patients at a hospital in Sylhet.

Criticizing the government’s lack of preparedness in the face of the pandemic, the doctors said, until 10 days ago they had no personal protective equipment (PPE).

The condition is so bad in Sylhet that the only coronavirus isolation center has two ventilators to treat critically ill patients, said a senior official who asked not to be named as he is not authorized to speak to the media.

Health experts say the situation in Bangladesh is dangerous and may spiral out of control if the government does not take preventive measures seriously, including protecting frontline workers.

“Bangladesh is the world’s most populated country and so COVID-19 may spread here very fast. Doctors and health workers are at high risk,” said Dr. Zakir Sumon, secretary-general of Bangladesh Doctors’ Foundation.

More than 100 health workers including 54 doctors in Bangladesh have been infected by the lethal virus as of Tuesday, according to data compiled by the foundation.

Dozens of hospitals and clinics across the country have been locked down after their staff tested positive.

Referring to the government callousness in taking preventive measures to address coronavirus, Sumon said: “Bangladesh had four months to prepare before the first case was reported. But the government failed to collect even sufficient kits.”

The government, on the other hand, maintains it is sufficiently prepared.

We have 71,000 testing kits available, Abul Kalam Azad, director-general of the government’s health directorate, told reporters.

Official figures state more than 886,000 PPE have been distributed to hospitals.

The South Asian nation has reported 50 deaths from the virus and confirmed more than 1,200 cases.

After appearing in China last December, the novel virus has spread to 185 countries and regions.

More than 1.99 million people have been infected worldwide, while over 128,000 have died of the virus, according to U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

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