The Economist reports that the world’s most densely populated country, Bangladesh, has a population of 165 million but only 29 intensive-care beds equipped with ventilators.
As the country enters the second half of a 10-day lockdown, the authorities have reported just five deaths from Covid-19, and some 50 positive cases out of about 1 200 people tested so far.
Since January, about 700 000 migrant workers have returned to Bangladesh from overseas. Most, including tens of thousands from Italy, entered unscreened. The pandemic poses the biggest challenge yet for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, the report says.
Bangladesh’s war for independence from Pakistan occurred a year after a cyclone killed half a million people in 1970; the downfall of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Sheikh Hasina’s father, followed a famine; and the end of Mohammad Ershad’s dictatorial rule was spurred by floods in 1988. Sheikh Hasina will hope a calamity can be avoided and history does not repeat itself.