Mass exodus from capital key reason for Covid spread
The mass exodus of people from Dhaka city and surrounding areas last year was the primary reason behind the countrywide spread of novel coronavirus, reveals a study recently published in Nature Microbiology, a UK-based scientific journal.
The study, titled "genomics, social media, and mobile phone data enable mapping of SARS-CoV-2 lineages to inform health policy in Bangladesh", was conducted by a genomic epidemiology consortium.
The consortium comprised the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), icddr,b and Institute for Developing Science and Health Initiatives (ideSHi).
After the first cases of Covid-19 were reported on March 8 last year, the government announced a national public holiday with stay-at-home order effective from March 26 to April 4 to contain the virus.
The closures were later incrementally extended until May 30 that year.
The researchers in the study analysed the population mobility data collected from Facebook and three mobile phone operators and genomics data.
Combining population mobility and genomics data revealed a direct link between the transmission of three dominant variants (Alpha, Beta and Delta) and the spread of the disease across the country during the first wave.
Prof Dr Tahmina Shirin, director of IEDCR, also a senior author of the article, said, "It is important that we continue to generate evidence to aid our policymakers to contain the spread of the virus successfully."
Dr Firdausi Qadri, senior scientist at icddr,b, also a senior author of the article, said, "Real-time genomic surveillance is critical to understand the efficacy of these vaccines and protection from previous Covid-19 infections and to devise relevant strategies for Bangladesh and beyond."
LOWEST DEATHS IN 3 MONTHS
While the positivity rate declined below seven percent, the lowest in six months, the number of new cases continued rising for the fourth consecutive day yesterday.
Against a total of 31,724 samples tested yesterday, the positivity rate was 6.54 percent, according to a press release of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
On March 13, the positivity rate was recorded 6.26 percent against 16,206 tests.
Yesterday, 2,074 fresh cases were detected, suggesting a steady rise from 1,327 on September 11.
Meanwhile, DGHS reported 35 deaths from Covid-19 in the 24 hours till 8:00am yesterday, the lowest since June 7 when 30 deaths from the disease were recorded.
With yesterday's figure, the total number of confirmed cases reached 15,34,440 and the total number of fatalities 27,007.
The death rate now stands at 1.76 percent.
Of yesterday's deceased, 21 were men and 14 women. All of them died in hospital.
The highest, 15, died in Dhaka division followed by eight in Chattogram, four each in Rajshahi and Khulna, and two each in Barishal and Sylhet divisions.
Since the transmission of the Delta variant started dropping from early August, the number of deaths from coronavirus is also falling.
Experts, however, warned the transmission may rise again due to the gross violation of health safety guidelines and an inadequate number of people receiving vaccines.