Business centers converted into hospitals, quarantine facilities in Bangladesh amid COVID-19 outbreak

Source: Xinhua| 2020-05-17 22:18:03|Editor: huaxia

by Naim-Ul-Karim

DHAKA, May 17 (Xinhua) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic continues unabated, the Bangladeshi government has begun ramping up makeshift quarantine and hospital facilities in the capital Dhaka and elsewhere in the country.

As part of the government's anti-epidemic efforts, authorities in Dhaka have converted a mega business center into a hospital after turning a market into a makeshift quarantine facility last week.

Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque inaugurated the Bashundhara COVID-19 Isolation Hospital (Temporary Health Center) at a ceremony in Dhaka on Sunday.

Sayem Sobhan Anvir, managing director of Bangladesh's top business conglomerate Bashundhara Group, and Safwan Sobhan, vice-chairman of Bashundhara, were present at the ceremony.

Bashundhara has offered the Bangladeshi government its key business center -- International Convention City Bashundhara (ICCB) -- in Dhaka to be converted into a hospital to treat COVID-19 patients.

According to the proposal which Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan presented to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina recently, its convention center would be turned into a 5,000-bed hospital.

Initially the hospital will start its operation with 600 beds, said Tanvir Hamed, a senior official of the hospital.

The Health Engineering Department of Bangladeshi government and the Bashundhara Group jointly implemented the project in three weeks.

As of Sunday, according to the official, 2,013 beds have already been prepared, and others will be ready shortly.

The number of the beds could be increased to up to 5,000 depending on the number of COVID-19 patients, he said.

Earlier this month authorities in Dhaka converted a newly constructed market building into a 1,400-bed makeshift quarantine facility.

A Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) official said the market building in Dhaka's upmarket Banani accommodates a total of 1,390 beds to become one of the biggest quarantine facilities in Dhaka under institutional quarantine for COVID-19 patients.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh have risen sharply in recent weeks, with the capital Dhaka emerging as the battlefront of the country.

The number of new COVID-19 infections in Bangladesh rose by 1,273 on Sunday, the highest daily increase since March 8.

Nasima Sultana, a senior Health Ministry official, told an online media briefing that the number of confirmed infections totaled 22,268 while fatalities stood at 328. Enditem