A senseless act of a govt official | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 21, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:35 AM, February 21, 2020

A senseless act of a govt official

He shared info on suspected Covid-19 patient on Facebook

A top official at the Benapole Customs in Jashore yesterday allegedly posted on Facebook the photograph, identity and address of a passenger, claiming a coronavirus patient was identified at the port.

After the post was updated, health officials, however, found that the passenger, who came in a train from India, did not carry the virus.

At this, the customs official first edited the post providing the update and then deleted it later in the day.

By that time, the post caused rumours on social media.

The incident resulted in a strong reaction from health officials.

Breaching the privacy of any passenger is not only unethical, but also a violation of the service rule on maintaining secrecy which is mandatory for all government officials, said IEDCR Director Prof Meerjady Sabrina Flora.

"From the beginning, we have been asking all government officials concerned to be careful about the privacy of anyone suspected of being infected. During such a crisis, many fail to maintain this…," the director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) told The Daily Star.

She said that if there were cases of infections, the protocol was to inform the high-ups concerned or contact the IEDCR.

The IEDCR, which is under the health ministry, is the only organisation in the country which has the capacity to test suspected coronavirus cases.

As part of the countrywide surveillance system, the IEDCR collects sample from any suspected patients reported by local health authorities.

After testing the sample, the IEDCR makes the results public.

So far, the IEDCR has tested 77 samples and found all to be coronavirus negative.

Besides, 20,767 incoming passengers were screened at all airports, seaports and land ports across the country in 24 hours till 3:00pm yesterday, according to IEDCR.

None of them had any coronavirus symptoms.

Prof Flora urged officials concerned to contact respective upazila health officials or civil surgeons or directly call to IEDCR hotlines. The numbers are 01927711784, 01927711785, 01937000011, and 01937110011.

She urged people not to panic as the government has taken necessary preparation to prevent and contain any probable outbreak of coronavirus.

Meanwhile, a new coronavirus case was reported in Singapore yesterday, taking the total number of cases to 85, Straight Times newspaper reported.

Four Bangladeshis, among the 48 confirmed cases who are still in hospital in that country, are stable and improving.

Besides, one Bangladeshi patient is still in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

In a development, the IEDCR in Bangladesh has received 500 real time PCR kits for testing coronavirus, through the Chinese embassy in Dhaka, said a press release.

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