At a state government hospital near Bangladesh’s border with India, Shahinul Islam prays that his father will not become one of the more than 300 patients at the facility who died this month from the coronavirus.
Hundreds like his father struggled to breathe in the COVID-19 treatment unit, while Islam waited in an emergency room full of people. Parents rush outside, desperately trying to find oxygen cylinders for their loved ones.
The crowd of COVID-19 patients and their worried families are new scenes for the 1,200-bed Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, which serves border communities that are being invaded by the most infectious Delta variant detected for the first time in India nearby.
More than 450 people with COVID-19 were admitted Tuesday to the state hospital in the main city of Rajshahi district.
Islam said his entire family had been displaced by people in his home country closer to the border.
“Other people are afraid of us.” They don’t talk to us. When they see us on the road, they take a different path, “he said.” We suffered a lot. “
Growing infections and crowded hospitals are seen all over Bangladesh, where a tight lock starts Thursday.
The government will deploy military soldiers, paramilitary border officers and riot police to reinforce the lockdown, initially set for a week.
The United States sends 2.5 million doses of vaccines
Meanwhile, the United States on Tuesday began dispatching 2.5 million doses of Modern COVID vaccine to the South Asian nation of more than 160 million people, a White House agent told reporters. AFP news agency.
Bangladesh “has a 55 per cent increase week on week in cases, largely driven by the Delta variant,” the official said, explaining how the country made it onto the urgent list. Delivery is scheduled to end this week.
Authorities in Bangladesh warn that the rapid growth of border areas is accelerating the spread of the virus in Bangladesh. Hospitals in Khulna and Rajshahi cities are overcrowded.
“If people do not keep health safety rules and if they do not stay at home, this wave of pandemic in Bangladesh could be catastrophic. It will spread fast and kill more people,” said ASM Alamgir, chief scientific officer of the ‘Government Institute of Epidemiology, Control and Research of Diseases in the capital, Dhaka.
Many border districts in the north and southwest of Bangladesh have been spared from COVID-19 so far, so people do not lack antibodies against the virus. This, combined with the large number of unvaccinated people, makes the population much more vulnerable.
Just over four million people are completely immunized. Another 1.5 million received a dose, but the shortage of Oxford-AstraZeneca imports, arrested by India, left them uncertain when they would get the second dose.
Rajshahi Hospital is also short of the type of oxygen supply system needed for critically ill patients at a time when it is seeing more and more patients with worryingly low oxygen levels.
High-flow nasal cannulas provide continuous continuous oxygen to such patients, but government hospitals in border districts have been forced to rely instead on portable oxygen cylinders.
“They can’t be handled properly with just oxygen cylinders.” If we can’t provide them with a central line of oxygen, God forbid, the casualties could increase, ”said Brigadier General Shamim Yazdani, the hospital’s director.
The South Asian nation has confirmed more than 900,000 cases in total, including at least 14,300 deaths since March last year. Experts say the current figures may be higher.
On Monday, skin infections hit a record 8,364 – nearly double last week, according to the health ministry. Sunday saw its highest reported pandemic deaths, 119, while another 112 people died Tuesday.
Experts are preparing for the situation to worsen further in the coming weeks.
Growing cases and uncertainties over vaccines have pushed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government to step up with restrictions. The cuts began in phases on Monday before all economic activity was halted in a tight national toll starting Thursday.
In anticipation, thousands of people have he tried to flee Dhaka since last weekend, crowding bus and boat terminals while exploiting public health measures such as maintaining social distance.
A complete block may be the only answer to slow down the variant, which poses the greatest risk. “If we can strengthen the straitjacket as planned, we will be able to avoid a disaster,” Alamgir said. “We hope for the best.”