Citizens that have similar symptoms of COVID-19 are prohibited from going to hospitals as they do not have the expertise to nurse those kinds of patients. Yet hospitals whom have the aptitude to nurse these patients are denying their request to have them hospitalized. The individuals who don’t have the means, have no choice to visit one hospital from another until they fall down to the ground dead.
A medical Maldivian student residing in Bangladesh recounted the country’s dire situation.
There were about 80 Maldivians residing in Bangladesh, all whom are either interns or medical students. They are known to be living in the two cities, Chittagong and Capital Dhaka. While some live with their families, others live alone. Now they are all marooned away in anxiety and fear.
STATE OF AFFAIRS ARE WORSE OFF THAN PORTRAYED
The students in Bangladesh reported the real circumstances were much more unpleasant than the official statement released by government.
The official number of confirmed cases in Bangladesh disclosed to public is 70 active cases and 8 deceased.
Even so, taking into account the insufficiency of the number of tests being conducted, to the point of not even testing many of those who passed away with matching symptoms for virus, the accurate magnitude of the outbreak is hard to tell. Their deaths have been categorized and filed away as “with symptoms consistent with COVID-19” or “atypical pneumonia”.
A student at the Chittagong Medical College, Iyad Naseer voiced, “In the hospital I work in alone, some 40 people have died with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. But they were not properly tested.”
Another student at Chittagong Medical College, Fathimath Zahiya commented,” “What happens is, if you have symptoms consistent with COVID-19, you are denied hospitalization at regular hospitals. But at the same time, you can’t get hospitalized in designated hospitals unless you are a confirmed case. Patients need to run from one hospital to the other. During all this, some people are just dying.”
As many individuals with matching symptoms of the virus are literally falling to their deaths, Bangladesh ran short of the personal protection equipment that is essential for healthcare workers to wear to protect themselves and their patients. Zahiya revealed that some hospitals who don’t have PPE had ordered interns to report to work by purchasing the equipment themselves causing, interns, including Maldivians, in a strike refusing to come to work.
“We, all the interns, are getting organized in a strike-like manner by refusing to report to duty because we don’t have PPE,” Zahiya spoke. “We intern have been told to acquire PPE by ourselves. How are we to acquire PPE by ourselves? This isn’t available to us.”
THE DANGER OUTSIDE
Though Bangladeshis decreed to be in nationwide quarantine, it is enforced insufficiently.
Numerous stores are closed hence the making a few supermarkets the only places available. The citizens have no alternative than to go these infested congested supermarkets where most of them have run out of products.
Zahiya who resides in college hostel affirmed that after the college shut down, that before they left to their homes, the local students who wo were living in the hostel with them, donated all their food supplies to the students who have no alternative to stay back at the hostel.
She fears the time when the Food supplies will run out making them no choice to go outside to purchase. “To be honest, I am extremely fearful because I am required to venture out of this hostel. The exit of the hostel is towards the emergency entrance of the hospital. A lot of people go in and out there,” Zahiya stated.
Iyad living together with three other Maldivian students stated that when the food they purchased in bulk on March 16, runs out in a couple of weeks, they too will need to go outside.
“I fear there will be a food shortage here, given that this is a developing nation with a large population of the poor,” Iyad expressed. “I am seeing videos of Facebook of people attacking each other over food. We are fearful and anxious having seen these videos.”
BEFORE THIS BECOMES A SECOND ITALY, RESCUE US
Because all the commercial flights to Bangladesh are now suspended, Maldivian students lost their chances to come back home.
They beg the Maldivian government to rescue them.
“The situation is deteriorating with each passing day. Therefore, we are desperate to get out of here before the situation gets any worse, or before this place becomes a second Italy or China,” said Iyad.
“If something happens, we will get plunged into such a situation. What we are asking for is, to arrange for us to leave this place before something happens,” Zahiya added.
Iyad and Zahiya begged the Maldivian government to hold a repatriation flight to Bangladesh saying that the situation is much worse in Bangladesh than in countries like Sri Lanka.
The Maldivian government reassured that they are keeping a close watch over the situation of Maldivians overseas.
The national airline, Maldivian plans to hold its first repatriation flights to rescue Maldivians this week. This Sunday there are two flights are arranged to fly out to Sri Lankan capital Colombo, and a third is arranged to fly out to the Indian city of Cochin on Monday.
The government declared they are working together with the airline to hold repatriation flights to save Maldivians in other overseas locations, including Bangladesh – giving hope to Zahiya and Iyad, and the hundreds of other Maldivian nationals who are looking forward to coming back to their home country.