Almost half of Dhaka residents carry COVID antibodies: Report

People wear protective masks as they walk on the street amid concerns over coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Dhaka, Bangladesh, June 25, 2020. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

About 45 per cent of the residents of Dhaka have developed Covid-19 antibodies, with the rate climbing to 74 per cent among slum-dwellers in the Bangladeshi capital, according to a new study.

The national-level study found the presence of the virus in 9.8 per cent of samples that were tested.

The study, commissioned by the government’s disease control agency IEDCR, was conducted between April 18 and July 5 in collaboration with USAID.

The data showed that 45 per cent of people in Dhaka were infected with the coronavirus until July 5 and they developed antibodies in the process.

The study was unveiled during an event in Dhaka on Monday.

One of the most densely-populated cities in the world, Dhaka has a population of over 21 million, according to UN population estimates.

The virus was detected in the samples of 12,699 people living in the 25 wards of Dhaka, equating to an infection rate of 9.8 per cent, according to the researchers.

Among the infected, around 24 per cent were over the age of 60, while 18 per cent were between 15-19 years old.

The researchers also found “some information” on re-infections in Bangladesh over the course of the study, reports bdnews24.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque, who participated at the event via video link, said: “The government has acted quickly to prevent the transmission of the novel coronavirus. Due to this, the prevalence of coronavirus in the country is low.

“Compared to many other countries, Bangladesh has done well in controlling coronavirus.”

Bangladesh, one of the worst-hit South Asian country after India, has so far reported more than 380,000 coronavirus cases, with 5,555 deaths.

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