Government officials should act based on facts and avoid using force in handling suspected coronavirus patients so that people don't panic, IEDCR Director Prof Meerjady Sabrina Flora said yesterday.
Referring to the death of a woman following rumours about her son in Satkhira recently, she said rumours on social media and use of force by law enforcers and administration would create obstacles to detecting coronavirus cases.
The director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Diseases Control and Research (IEDCR) was briefing reporters on the latest coronavirus situation.
On February 10 night, Renuka Bala, 56, of Satkhira's Shyamnagar upazila died of cardiac arrest after hearing rumours that police were looking for her son Ratan Roptan, 35, and "they would shoot him dead as he was infected with coronavirus", according to a UNB report.
Ratan, who had fever and cough upon his return from India, escaped Sadar hospital in Satkhira in panic after doctors advised him to get admitted to the hospital. Health officials and police later started looking for him, it added.
Yesterday, Flora said, "It's worrying that rumours are spreading especially on social media. The mother of a suspected coronavirus patient died because of such rumour."
Moreover, there is a risk to social and personal security of the returnees from China and Singapore.
"Being influenced by rumours, law enforcement agencies and administration are showing coercive attitude towards the returnees. This will prompt suspected patients to hide themselves and eventually hinder detection of real cases."
The IEDCR urged government officials and people to contact it through hotline and act on its advice if there is any suspected coronavirus case.
It has provided hotline numbers for any information or help regarding coronavirus. The numbers are 01927711784, 01927711785, 01937000011, and 01937110011.
Meanwhile, the IEDCR has tested two more suspected coronavirus cases at its virology laboratory. Both were tested negative, according to its press release.
So far, it has tested 72 suspected samples and found no case of coronavirus infection.
According to the IEDCR, 13,256 incoming passengers were screened at all airports, seaports and land ports across the country in 24 hours till 3:00pm yesterday. None of them had any coronavirus symptoms.
It also mentioned that the five Bangladeshis, infected with the virus, are still under treatment in Singapore. One of them is in the intensive care unit and his condition remains unchanged.
A total of 77 coronavirus patients are receiving treatment in the Southeast Asian country.