1,500 have died with COVID-19 symptoms in Bangladesh: report
At least 1,500 people have died while displaying symptoms of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, in Bangladesh, a study has found.
Bangladesh Peace Observatory or BPO, a research project under Dhaka University's Centre for Genocide Studies, revealed the information in the form of a graphical presentation titled â€˜COVID-19 Graphicsâ€™.
Funded by the UNDP, the BPO gleaned its findings from reports published in 25 news media outlets, including national and regional newspapers, online portals and television channels, from Mar 8 to Jun 27.
In the 12th â€˜COVID-19 Graphicsâ€™ on Thursday, the BPO found that 198 people had died with COVID-19 symptoms across the country in the last week. The figure was 206 the week before.
No-one was reported to have died with COVID-19 symptoms in the first two weeks of the outbreak in Bangladesh. But three people reportedly to died with the symptoms between Mar 22 and 28, according to the report.
The figure jumped to 63 from Mar 29 to Apr 5. Over the following weeks, the tally was 106, 120, 114, 93, 50, 67,48,73, 154, 206, 205 and finally 198.
The tally of fatalities with coronavirus symptoms peaked at 451 in Chattogram division, followed by 338 in Dhaka, 185 in Khulna, 170 in Barishal, 148 in Rajshahi, 83 in Sylhet, 70 in Rangpur, and 55 in Mymensingh division, according to BPO.
The presentation also highlighted some other social and political issues that came to the fore during coronavirus epidemic.
As of Jun 27, law-enforcement agencies have arrested 87 people for spreading rumours and misinformation. Also, another 544 people were detained for embezzlement of relief funds, food adulteration and defying government orders regarding the coronavirus crisis. At least 11,028 people were fined for their indiscretions during this period.
In different parts of the country, 217 instances of torture and social stigmatisation linked to the novel coronavirus have taken place, with 172 incidents of protest, according to BPO.
Around 27 percent of these protest incidents involved demands for relief items and aid, 41 percent for unpaid salaries and bonuses, while16 percent called for the lowering of house rent or tuition fees during the lockdown.
Another 6 percent of the protests were aimed at the irregularities in relief distribution, 4 percent called for health and medical benefits, while 2 percent of the incidents were related to the proposed budget.
At least 18 people died while 551 were injured in the 132 clashes that took place in connection to the coronavirus epidemic, the report said.
â€œThe government is providing updated information on COVID-19, but that does not include people dying with symptoms of the disease. People are growing scared on the assumption that a large number of people are dying with novel coronavirus symptoms. But these are the findings we've made after analysing the 25 open sources,â€ said Prof Imtiaz Ahmed, director of Centre for Genocide Studies.
Imtiaz is hopeful that the research will put an end to the 'rumours' circulating on social media about the issue and eliminate the misconception people harbour about COVID-19.
However, he highlighted some of the weaknesses of the research, pointing out that the deaths of people with coronavirus symptoms in private hospitals are not reported in the media.
"Therefore, the research doesn't reflect the issue in its entirety. The government should keep an eye on the private hospitals as well," he said.
â€œJust because a person died with symptoms of the virus does not mean they were infected. Many of them were tested and the result came back negative after their deaths,â€ he added.