COVID cases surge in Jashore villages as new virus wave spreads to remote areas

COVID-19 cases are surging in villages near the border in Jashore’s Sharsha Upazila.

Published : 20 June 2021, 07:31 AM
Updated : 20 June 2021, 07:31 AM

Virus cases have been identified in about 50 villages in the upazila, as the disease is spreading to remote areas, according to data from the Jessore University of Science and Technology’s Genome Centre.

The positivity rate for coronavirus tests in a 24-hour period on Saturday was 67.44 percent, with 29 positive tests from 43 tests. A total of 650 people have tested positive for the virus in the upazila.

Benapole health official Dr Yusuf Ali says the caseload in his upazila, which neighbours Sharsha, has also passed 100.

Data from the JUST Genome Centre shows that COVID cases were limited to the Benapole and Nabharan areas during the first wave, but the disease has reached even remote villages during the second wave.

Three people who tested positive for COVID have died in the upazila in the past week, as did three others experiencing symptoms consistent with the disease, said Jashore Sadar Hospital Resident Medical Officer Dr Arif Ahmed.

Those who tested positive before their deaths were 36-year-old Alamgir Hossain from Matipukur Village, 55-year-old Anjuwara Begum from Nabharan and 60-year-old Sabita Rani from Goga.

Those who died after exhibiting symptoms were 75-year-old Atiar Rahman from Dhanyatara Village in Kaiba Union, 40-year-old Mariam Begum from Kashiani Village and 70-year-old Rafi Uddin from Rugnatpur Village.

People in nearly every village are experiencing coronavirus symptoms, including fever, coughs, sore throats and congested noses. But even those who are aware of the disease are reluctant to take tests, even after experiencing symptoms for eight to ten days. This has made it difficult to pinpoint the true number of infections in the area.

Local government, law enforcers and public representatives have taken firm stances over the issue, but the effects have not been felt on the ground forcing the imposition of strict restrictions, says Sirajul Haque Manju, chairman of Sharsha Upazila Parishad. 

A public notice issued by the Office of the Upazila Nirbahi Officer last Monday imposed a 12-point list of restrictions in the area. The following day Jashore Deputy Commissioner Md Tamijul Islam Khan strengthened these restrictions.

The district’s COVID Prevention Committee identified Benapole Bazar and Sharsha Sadar Union as high-risk areas and imposed strict restrictions in the area for seven days starting Jun 15, said Sharsha UNO Mir Alif Reza.

Anyone leaving home or in public is required to wear a mask. Mass transit is closed and only one passenger is allowed on a motorcycle, while only two are allowed on an ‘easybike’.

All businesses must close by 5 pm. Restaurants and hotels cannot offer dine-in services and tea stalls cannot have benches, carrom boards or televisions.

All public gatherings, meetings and marches are suspended. No one can leave home after 6 pm without adequate reason.

Despite these orders, the situation at shops, stores and shopping malls in Benapole and Nabharan is quite different. People are not following these restrictions in the Bagachra area.

Due to heavy restrictions in the neighbouring area of Kolaroa in Satkhira, people from there are coming to Bagachra Bazar to conduct their business. Some stores at the bazaar were open as late as 10 pm.

“Bagachra is one of the hotspots of the coronavirus infection now,” said Bagachra Union Parishad Chairman Ilias Kabir Bakul. “We are worried. There is a cattle market at Bagachra’s Satmile and a mango market at Bagachra’s Baguri.”

“People from all over the country travel to these two markets to buy and sell cattle and mangoes. Even if we do our best, it is impossible to ensure the crowd maintains social distancing or wears masks.”

Long-haul and intra-district buses are still running in the area and people from Satkhira are using side roads to travel to Bagachra, he said.

Sixteen people have already tested positive for the coronavirus in Bagachra and the number will only rise when more tests are conducted, according to Bakul.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher