As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases passed the 7,000 mark with record 641 new infections reported yesterday, the National Technical Advisory Committee has recommended scaling up case detection, isolation and treatment measures to tackle the crisis.
The committee came up with the recommendation at its second meeting on Tuesday.
"We have put forward some specific recommendations considering the current coronavirus situation. Now, we have to emphasize on ramping up the activities in Dhaka city and Dhaka division. Root of the problem lies here," Prof Nazrul Islam, a member of the committee, told The Daily Star yesterday.
Earlier in the day, the authorities reported the highest number of new cases -- 641 -- for a single day. With it, the total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the country hit 7,103.
In 24 hours till 2:30pm yesterday, eight people died of Covid-19 infections, taking the death toll to 163, Prof Nasima Sultana, additional director general (administration) of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), said in a bulletin, aired online.
Besides, 11 more patients receiving treatment at different hospitals recovered over the same period, which brought the total number of recovery cases to 150.
In those 24 hours, 4,968 samples were tested across the country. The number was 14.68 percent higher than that of the previous day.
Of the total deceased, 137 were from Dhaka division, said the DGHS official.
Among the newly deceased, six were male and were from Dhaka, Dr Nasima said.
Age-wise, four of them were above 60, two between 51 and 60 and the rest between 31 and 40.
A total of 104 people were placed in isolation in those 24 hours across the country.
TECHNICAL COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS
At Tuesday's meeting, the 17-member National Technical Advisory Committee came up with multiple advices on improving the standard of hospital care to win the fight against coronavirus.
Besides, it recommended increasing case detection measures and selecting new hospitals for treating Covid-19 patients. It also advocated for using makeshift hospitals for patients with mild to moderate coronavirus infections.
The committee also recommended assigning adequate number of senior and junior healthcare staffers at those hospitals and lab employees at the testing centres.
Besides, it asked the authorities to ensure supply of World Health Organization (WHO) --defined standard personal protective equipment (PPE) to health staffers and recommended assigning an "expert committee" to ensure a proper supply.
The committee stressed on starting the treatment of anyone showing Covid-19-like symptoms.
"Many developed countries have started treatment of such people based on X-ray results and the symptoms. As community transmission of the virus is taking place here, this initiative is urgent now," said the committee.
There should be a separate plan and preparations in case a large number of healthcare staffers become infected. It is essential to ensure uninterrupted healthcare services, it said, recommending collection of five lakh Covid-19 PCR testing kits immediately.
"Currently, only those who come for tests with symptoms are being tested. [But] Those who have symptoms but are not coming for tests have to be brought under the testing facilities as well," the committee said in its recommendations.
Talking to The Daily Star, Prof Nazrul said, "These recommendations were made based on the current situation. We know we have to restart our economic activities, but it obviously has to be done after ensuring health precautionary measures."
He said the capital and Dhaka division were the main epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
"People are not following preventive measures here. So we are observing daily jump in new cases and deaths here. We have to put maximum focus on this region," said Prof Nazrul, also a former vice chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.
The committee also recommended taking experts' opinion on any move to reopen economic activities under the current circumstances.