Health Desk – 12 Apr, 2021: BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia is in a ‘stable’ condition after testing positive for COVID-19, the party has confirmed.
Her sample was sent to the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh or icddr,b on Saturday and the party got the test result on Sunday, said Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
Her personal physician said Khaleda was among nine people who contracted the coronavirus at her home in Gulshan.
A team of doctors led by her personal physician Prof FM Siddiqui were treating her at her home in Gulshan, according to Fakhrul.
“She is stable now, doing well,” he added.
He also said Khaleda’s temperature was normal and she did not develop symptoms.
Fakhrul came up with the confirmation in the afternoon at a press briefing at the office of the BNP chief after her family and senior party leaders said they were unaware of the test report.
The report from the Directorate General of Health Services or DGHS earlier surfaced on social media.
Maidul Islam, a spokesman for the health ministry, confirmed the authenticity of the report, saying: “The report that has come to us has identified her as coronavirus-positive.”
Confusions arose as the former prime minister’s personal physician Dr Md Al Mamun claimed that Khaleda had never tested for the coronavirus in the first place.
The reports of Khaleda taking the test spread after Mamun took a technologist from a private hospital to her residence on Saturday evening.
The party’s press wing also said the chairperson did not provide a sample for the coronavirus test. It was Dr Mamun who visited her residence for a regular health screening.
But after seeing Khaleda in the afternoon, Dr Mamun told reporters that eight others at Khaleda’s home had also tested positive.
Her physical condition was “good” and she had no symptoms – fever, throat pain, cough or breathing problem – of coronavirus infection, the doctor said.
Fakhrul said the course of her further treatment would be determined following doctors’ advice.
Dr Mamun also shed light on how Khaleda contracted the coronavirus.
He said a member of the staff at Khaleda’s home caught a fever five to six days ago and subsequently tested positive.
Others who stayed with the staffer also tested positive later.
The doctor confirmed that Fatema Begum, the carer of Khaleda, was among those who caught COVID-19.
In her mid-70s, the BNP chairperson has been suffering from fever for the past few days, her family said. When asked, the BNP leaders and Khaleda’s family had said they knew nothing about the test results.
A copy of the COVID test with a QR code for Khaleda went viral on Facebook. When scanned, the QR code directs the report to the DGHS website that shares coronavirus test reports.
“This [information] is available in our MIS or medical information services,” said DGHS Director General ABM Khurshid Alam, without providing a direct answer to a question on whether Khaleda had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Khaleda has been living in her Gulshan residence since the government suspended her imprisonment order in March 2020.
She had served 25 months out of 17 years of prison sentences in two graft cases, involving Zia Orphanage Trust and Zia Charitable Trust.
Mirza Fakhrul said Khaleda wanted to convey a message that all must follow the health rules while praying for her because the coronavirus situation has worsened to a terrifying level in Bangladesh.
She sought everyone’s blessing for her freedom and recovery, Fakhrul said, urging her supporters to arrange special prayers for her at mosques.