DHAKA: Bangladesh on Wednesday sought China's medical assistance to handle its worsening coronavirus crisis as the healthcare officials said the infection has killed three more people in the last 24 hours, taking the country's toll to 20.
The Foreign Ministry said that Bangladesh has urged China to send an expert team comprising doctors, nurses and technicians to help the country handle the situation and train its own health professionals.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called up his counterpart AK Abdul Momen and the two leaders discussed the situation in the wake of the virus.
"He (Momen) also discussed the possibility of importing ventilators from China," the ministry said in a statement.
Wang "responded positively" and assured him of Beijing's full support to Bangladesh, it said. Bangladesh earlier this year sent masks, sanitizers and hand gloves to China after the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan city.
Wang expressed gratitude for Bangladesh's valued contributions. Healthcare officials said three fresh COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours increased the country's toll to 20.
They said 54 new COVID-19 cases were also detected in the last 24 hours, the highest in a single day since the virus outbreak on March 8.
"The number of coronavirus cases now stands at 218". Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Director Meerjady Sabrina Flora said in her daily media briefing.
The IEDCR could not report any fresh case of recovery in the past two days as people with confirmed infections were kept in isolation at different health facilities.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday warned that the country may face a massive hike in COVID-19 cases in the coming days of April.
We have got some reports, which said there will be a massive hike in Bangladesh. But, do not be worried as we are prepared to overcome the crisis, she said.
Bangladesh on Monday suspended prayers for the public at mosques across the country in a bid to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs issued an emergency notice restricting the congregation in mosques.
The ministry urged the public to pray at home. Bangladesh on Saturday extended the nationwide transport shutdown till April 11.