05/07/2020, 15.17
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Dhaka Catholic nurse at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus

by Sumon Corraya

Contagion cases are rising in the country. Doctors and nurses have left hospitals to avoid getting sick. Tithy Margaret Costa’s faith has helped her heal the sick. People are struggling to keep social distancing. Garment factories are reopening.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) – Tithy Margaret Costa, a Catholic nurse at the Kurmitola General Hospital in Dhaka, is at the forefront of the fight against the coronavirus. Hers is a risky task.

The public hospital in the capital can accommodate up to 500 COVID-19 patients. Some of the most seriously ill patients die every day, while the flow of new patients is constant. Six of Costa’s fellow nurses, a doctor and a cleaner have also been infected.

Bangladesh has reported so far 11,719 cases with 186 deaths. More than 1,400 have recovered, including 30 Christians. However, the figures do not reflect the reality, given that the health authorities have done little testing.

Costa sees her job as a mission, although it is hard for her to see people die every day from the coronavirus.

"Many, including doctors and nurses, have left the hospital to avoid getting sick; I will never do that. This is the time to show my talent and courage by helping defenceless people.”

The 28-year-old nurse from Dhaka puts her health on the line despite having a child. Her husband never tried to dissuade her from working with coronavirus patients. Every time he comes home, he helps her disinfect herself to limit the danger of contagion in the family.

“COVID-19 patients expect love, patience and compassion from us,” Costa said. “Faith helps me heal them in the best possible way.”  One patient, an older Muslim man, once he was healed, called on Allah to bless her.

Still, Costa is worried about the future. The government imposed measures of social confinement and economic lockdown until 16 May, but the population is struggling to keep social distancing.

High population density and widespread poverty favour the spread of the disease. Contagion cases are on the rise.

Meanwhile, garment factories reopened last Monday. The garment industry represents 80 per cent of Bangladesh’s export earnings, employing a large part of the country’s workforce.

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Prime Minister Hasina rejects higher wage demands, while 150 factories are shut down
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Some 50 garment factories closed with 25,000 workers laid off in Bangladesh
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