Coronavirus: 4 returnees whisked off to hospital from airport

DHAKA (The Daily Star/ANN) - A coronavirus-positive girl, who had been taking treatment in Singapore, was among the returnees.

Four people, including a woman and her two-year-old daughter, were sent to a hospital after they arrived at Dhaka airport from abroad Monday.

The girl was tested positive for coronavirus and had been taking treatment in Singapore, said Shahriar Sajjat, assistant health director at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

Meanwhile, a British-Bangladeshi man, aged 60, died of coronavirus infection yesterday at a hospital in Manchester.

He visited Italy over a week ago, BBC Bangla reports, quoting his son.

The two others sent to the hospital on Monday had high fever, Group Captain AHM Touhid-ul Ahsan told The Daily Star.

Of them, one came from Italy and another from Spain.

On Sunday, the government confirmed three cases of coronavirus. Two of them recently returned from Italy. The other person came in contact with one of them.

"We have no information on when they returned and by which airline. We are trying to find out because the other passengers, crew, and pilots of that flight need to be tested."

According to reports, a Bangladeshi citizen has been tested positive in the UAE.

Health officials in Dhaka on Monday held several press conferences and asked people not to panic.

IEDCR Director Prof Meerjady Sabrina Flora said, "We have earlier collected blood samples of four people. They tested negative."

Since the announcement of confirmed coronavirus cases, IEDCR got 509 calls -- of which, 479 were about coronavirus.

"Eighteen people came to IEDCR in person. We collected blood samples of four," Prof Sabrina said.

Regarding the infected persons, she said two of them had fever four to seven days after coming to the country.

World Health Organisation Representative in Bangladesh Dr Bardan Jung Rana said, "Having a case in Bangladesh is not a surprise... but how early the country can detect and contain them is the main concern."

All the ministries, public and private organisations as well as the general public need to act, he said.

"Public education is absolutely important at this moment," he said.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also urged people not to panic and to avoid crowded places.

The PM made the call at the weekly cabinet meeting in her office, reports UNB.

"Since it's a contagious virus, her directive is to avoid mass gatherings as much as possible," Ashadul Islam, secretary of Health Services Division, told a press briefing.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque said the government has no plan to close schools and colleges.

The minister asked the educational institutions to increase the use of masks and sanitisers and encourage handwashing. He added that the government will take necessary steps to rein in the price of masks, handwashing soaps and sanitisers.

The minister said the government has kept 400 beds in Dhaka for treatment of coronavirus infected people while every district has 100 beds.

He also requested Bangladeshi expatriates living in different countries not to return now.

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