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A fourth horseman: covid-19 in Bangladesh

The world’s most densely populated big country enters the second half of a ten-day lockdown today. Thus far, the authorities have reported just six deaths from covid-19; some 54 out of about 1,602 people tested have come up positive. Bangladesh needs to keep that figure low; it has only 29 intensive-care beds equipped with ventilators, for 165m people. Ominously, since January around 700,000 migrant workers have returned from overseas. Most, including tens of thousands from Italy, entered unscreened. The pandemic poses the biggest challenge yet for Sheikh Hasina, the prime minister. 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.




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