by Nadeem Qadir;
Bangladeshi hospitals have registered a significant fall in the number of unnatural deaths thanks to the lockdown triggered by the global pandemic of novel coronavirus.
The number of premeditated killings and deaths from road crashes, according to health officials, have shown a significant drop since the shutdown came into effect in late March.
For most, lockdowns are like passing days in a prison, but the developments have had some positive sides however strange it may sound.
Mohaiminul Sovren, a student of the premier Dhaka Medical College and Hospital, told this correspondent that from Saturday a corona unit opened in the premises of the institution. “It is the old burn unit of the hospital which has been turned into a corona unit.”
When asked about corona victims being brought to the hospital morgue, Sovren said so far he was not aware of that, but the number of bodies of victims in other cases coming to the hospital has significantly fallen.
“Compared to normal times the number of bodies coming to the hospital for autopsy has fallen significantly. Maybe, we are getting only about one-fourth of the total now compared to the pre-COVID-19 time,” he added.
He could not give exact figures, but said it was down to 20 from about 100 bodies daily from road or rail accidents, which are one of the highest in South Asia.
“Now it is mostly land feuds and few other incidents of personal enmity, but not criminal killings like murder,” said the future doctor.
Sources in other major such hospitals also reported similar drop of bodies being brought in for autopsy or for storage.
Road transports have come to a standstill due to the lockdown. Thus news of people getting killed in road crashes is less now, meaning many lives are saved. Heavy vehicles made the highways a permanent death trap due to speeding or running with unskilled men on the wheels.
But Bangladesh Jatriy Kalyan Saity, a civic group, reported that more than 210 people were killed in the first 30 days of nationwide lockdown imposed from March 26.
Thus, trains and ferry networks are increasingly becoming popular both for carrying passengers, agricultural and industrial products. That, according to market experts, will help consumers to get their requirements at a cheaper price. Mega development projects have used waterways and railways to gather required materials.
According to police statistics, at least 4,138 people were killed and 4,411 injured in 4,147 accidents in 2019, while 2,635 were killed and 1,920 injured in 2,609 accidents in 2018. Last year, as per the data, highest 2,326 people were killed in district areas followed by 1,438 killed in highway and 374 in metropolitan areas
On an average 2,500 people are killed daily in Bangladesh due to different causes in normal times.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus, besides criminal activities militants too have also taken a dive for safety. Apparently, the COVID-19 has opened our eyes in making our lives more reasonable and happier.
It has made the internet the core of our daily lives. If educational institutions limit real time classes and engage by video conferencing as has been proposed, then it will be another forward step in ensuring less movement of people and vehicles. There may be many other similar instances.