Despite the sharp rise in Covid-19 infections in Chattogram, people remain apathetic towards health and safety guidelines.
According to Chattogram Civil Surgeon’s Office, the rate of detecting positive cases of Covid-19 was at 4 percent on March 7. On the day, 63 out of 1607 samples were tested positive.
However, the number of positive cases kept increasing, and last Monday, 11.40 percent of all samples were tested positive for Covid-19 (212 out of 1,859 samples).
The increasing rate of coronavirus infections should be alarming, but the crowds in different areas of the city including Agrabad, Chawkbazar, Muradpur, Bahaddarhat, Jamal Khan, New Market and Anderkilla paint a contradicting picture.
Upon visits in these areas, this correspondent found that at least one-third of people gathered there do not wear face masks. Many people had masks, but wore them in the incorrect way, exposing their mouth and nose.
Public transportation was full, with no room for social distancing.
Chittagong University student Tanmoy Chowdhury, said, “I am a regular commuter in the city and I always wear a mask when I’m outside. But every day I see that others are not doing the same, so my safety is also compromised despite me following the health guidelines.”
“I would request the administration to go for tough action,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chattogram Civil Surgeon Dr Sheikh Fazle Rabbi tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday. He received vaccine on February 7, said Dr Hasan Shahriar Kabir, director (Chattogram division) of Directorate General of Health Services.
Amid such dire circumstances, health experts opine that there is no alternative to following health and safety guidelines now.
“I have tested Dr Rabbi’s antibody for research purpose. I found that no antibody has been developed against Covid-19 in his body,” said Dr Abdur Rob, senior consultant of medicine and head of Covid-19 ward at Chattogram General Hospital.
“It takes time to develop antibody after receiving vaccine. In fact, minimum two weeks is required to develop antibody in one’s body after receiving the second dose of vaccine,” added Dr Abdur Rob.
“Moreover, I think, some new strains of mutated coronavirus, which are more contagious, are responsible for the present sharp rise in Covid-19 cases,” he said, “So there is no alternative to strictly following heath rules until the pandemic is under control.”
Contacted, Dr Hasan Shahriar Kabir said he wrote three letters to Chattogram District Administration to go for tough stance to ensure maintenance of health guidelines in the city.
“As we have received the 18-point instruction from the government regarding maintaining health rules, we have asked the restaurants to serve customers at half capacity. Same instructions have been given to public transport owners and recreation centres,” he said, “I hope the administration would ensure that these instructions are being followed properly.”
Contacted, Sumani Akter, additional district magistrate of Chattogram, said the district administration’s mobile courts have already began drives in different areas to ensure adherence to health guidelines.
Asked why so many people are still seen in public without face masks, she said the administration would go for tougher action starting today (Wednesday).
Until March 7, there were 35,788 total cases detected in Chattogram, while the death count was 378. Within about three weeks, the number of total detected cases rose to 39,706, and the death count stands at 385.