BD sets grim records
Staff Correspondent: Bangladesh has reached grim records in both COVID-19 deaths and new cases, with 164 fatalities and 9,964 cases counted over a 24-hour period.
This takes the total death toll from the disease to 15,229 and the total caseload to 954,881, as of 8 am yesterday (Monday), according to the latest government data.
Khulna, a recent hotspot, tallied 55 fatalities in the past 24 hours, the most among the eight divisions in the country. Dhaka was second with 40 deaths, followed by Chattogram with 18 and Rangpur and Rajshahi with 16 each. Dhaka logged the highest daily cases among the eight divisions with 4,250. Khulna saw 1,470 new cases, while Chattogram saw 1,367, Rajshahi saw 1,123 and Rangpur saw 676.
Nationwide, another 5,185 people recovered from the illness, bringing the total number of recoveries to 839,082.
As many as 34,002 samples were tested across the country, for a positivity rate of 29.30 percent. The latest figures put the recovery rate at 87.87 percent and the mortality rate at 1.59 percent.
Globally, over 183.82 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and over 3.97 million have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
Bangladesh is currently facing a renewed surge in COVID-19 cases and deaths, prompting the government to impose its harshest lockdown yet.
The government enforced a lockdown in April, the month with the highest number of infections and deaths from COVID-19. After the second wave of infections had begun, the death toll in April was 2,404 among 147,837 coronavirus cases.
June was the second cruellest month for Bangladesh during the pandemic with 112,718 confirmed infections and 1,884 deaths.
The government on Monday extended the current stringent lockdown by a week to Jul 14 at the advice of experts to curb infections.
The community transmission of COVID-19 has now reached villages across Bangladesh and 50 percent of the current caseload comes from rural areas, according to a government calculation.
Because it is monsoon, many COVID patients mistakenly believe their fevers, coughs and clogged noses are caused by seasonal illnesses, said Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, director general of DGHS. So, many of them are not coming to the hospital in time and are dying because they are not being treated in a timely manner.
On Sunday, the government also reported that the more infectious Delta variant of the coronavirus is now dominant in Bangladesh, with 78 percent of the cases affected in June.
Security forces are enforcing the lockdown measures strictly, arresting and fining hundreds of people in Dhaka, but there was heavier traffic and larger crowds in parts of the capital.
According to the government’s orders, only shops selling necessities are allowed to open during the lockdown, but all sorts of stores have begun raising their shutters, in violation of health protocols. Store owners quickly pretend to close up when police patrols go by.
Low-income people, who migrated to Dhaka from the rural areas for work, are leaving the city for their home villages in the dark of the night by goods vehicles as the lockdown has cut their income, raising fears of further spread of the virus.
In these circumstances, the government has lowered the minimum age for COVID-19 vaccines by five years to 35, as the country resumes its mass inoculation drive after a suspension due to a supply crunch.
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