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COVID-19 in Bangladesh: Data deficiency to delayed decision

08, April 2020 |


Huq S. & Biswas R. K.


ower middle-income countries are not heavily presented in global media on COVID-19. Bangla- desh, a densely populated nation, have conducted only 1759 tests in last one month with 9 report- ed deaths. The decisions of cluster-wise lockdown or social distancing, or even preparing the health system to respond to the pandemic are made without the availability of adequate data. This is fuelling panic in local community and giving an obscure picture in the global data. With major discussions around COVID-19 pandemic focused on China, USA and Europe, few media re- ports have acknowledged that it has also silently paved its way into lower middle-income countries. In Bangladesh, as per the 5 th of April 2020, only 88 diagnosed cases and 9 deaths have been associated with COVID-19 with first case detected on the 8th of March [1]. As of the 1st of April, the number of tests conducted was 1759 since the detection of the first COVID-19 case. In a country of 164 million and with 155 898 overseas arrivals between the 8 th of March and the 5 th of April, which included some hard-hit countries such as Italy, a total of less than 3000 tests in the first 4 weeks of transmission were likely insufficient to illustrate the viral transmission in Bangladesh [1]. Al- though scarcity of test kits and lack of awareness from the general public certainly contributed to the cri- sis, Bangladesh is one of the few countries which had more than two months to prepare for COVID-19 crisis. It could have been both aware and prepared, because of its close business ties with China.