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Bangladesh scrambles to contain Covid-19 outbreak

Panic spreads as health officials warn of inadequate health facilities as thousands return from high-risk areas

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Support Asia's largest network of Catholic journalists and editors
Bangladesh scrambles to contain Covid-19 outbreak

People buy masks from a street vendor in Dhaka on March 19 as panic spreads after the first death related to the Covid-19 disease in Bangladesh. (Photo: Stephan Uttom/UCA News)

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Bangladesh has recorded its first death from Covid-19, triggering panic among people as the government scrambles amid a lack of testing kits and protective gear in the overpopulated South Asian country.

A 70-year-old man with no recent record of traveling outside the country died on March 18, days after getting infected with the coronavirus, possibly by one of thousands of recent Bangladeshi returnees from Europe and China, according to a press briefing by the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).

As news of the first Covid-19 death spread, the public scrambled for face masks and hand sanitizers, while panic buying skyrocketed in Dhaka and urban areas of the country.

The streets were deserted but markets, superstores and pharmacies struggled to cope with hundreds of panic-stricken customers.

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