Highest case positivity rate in 71 days
The government plans to isolate Dhaka for nine days by putting seven districts, including four districts surrounding the capital, into strict lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19.
All land transportation in the districts, except emergency services, are to be suspended for the next nine days.
The measure has been taken as a wave of Covid-19 from the border districts, believed to be caused by the Indian (Delta) variant, appears to be heading towards the capital.
According to the health authorities, the test positivity rate in the country climbed to 19.27% Monday, with 4,636 people infected. A further 78 people died from Covid-19.
The total number of confirmed cases in the country stood at 856,304, and the overall death toll at 13,626.
The Cabinet Ministry in a circular said Manikganj, Narayanganj, Munsiganj, Gazipur, Madaripur, Rajbari and Gopalganj would go into strict lockdown from 6am today to midnight on June 30.
Cabinet Ministry Deputy Secretary (Field Administration Coordination Branch) Rezaul Islam said these specific districts were chosen with the aim of protecting Dhaka.
Some of these districts went into partial lockdown earlier, and the restrictions will now be extended to the full districts. All kinds of movement and transportation are suspended, except for emergency services, to ensure that no one could enter the capital, he added.
With the new announcement, over 20 districts in the country have now imposed full or partial lockdowns or restrictions on movement.
The circular did not mention anything about air or river transportation. However, the ministry said river transportation with the districts would be halted during the lockdown period.
Lockdown imposed but people flouting health rules
The southern districts and several districts in Khulna, Rajshahi and Rangpur Divisions are currently under lockdown or movement restrictions.
Dr Nazmul Islam, a spokesperson for the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), said it was a matter of relief that the infection rate in Chapainazwabganj was decreasing, but the situation in Natore and Naogaon was alarming.
Our district correspondents across the country report that the situation in Khulna Division is worrying.
In Satkhira, the district witnessed an increase in positivity rate of around 6% on the 18th day of the lockdown imposed in the districts. The test positivity rate stood at 43%.
Jayanta Kumar Saha, medical officer of the Satkhira Civil Surgeon’s Office, said the situation was worsening as people continued to leave their homes on poor excuses.
Officials from Khulna and Jessore, where case positivity rates are even higher, said there had been no improvement.
Khulna Civil Surgeon Dr Niaz Morshed also said the reason behind the lack of improvement was the reluctance of the people to follow health rules.
“The lockdown has been imposed for this reason, but people are still managing to break the health rules,” he added.
The situation in Dinajpur has also become worrisome for the health authorities, with the test positivity rate at 48.80%.
The district has been in full lockdown since June 12 and the local administration has extended the ongoing lockdown to June 28. However, people are still flouting health rules on a regular basis.
At present the positivity rate in Dinajpur is 48.80%.
Highest case positivity rate in 74 days
The DGHS has recorded a test positivity rate of 19.27% in the country, the highest since a test positivity rate of 21% was recorded on April 16.
According to a DGHS press release, 78 more Covid-19 deaths were recorded in the 24 hours between 8am on Sunday and 8am Monday.
The health authorities recorded 4,636 more Covid-19 cases– the highest single-day tally in over two months.
As many as 24,509 samples, including pending ones, were tested at 528 authorized labs – government and private – across the country.
The press release said the test positivity rate was still highest in Khulna division at 40.04%, followed by Rangpur with 38.94%, and Rajshahi with 24.18%.
Sylhet has the lowest case positivity rate of 13.18%, followed by Dhaka division with 14.11%.
However, the districts under Dhaka Division situated south of the Padma River have higher infection rates.
Rajbari has the highest test positivity rate of 63.11%.
Almost all the districts in Khulna have high test positivity rates that range from 20% to around 50% while Kurigram, Thakurgaon, and Dinajpur in Rangpur division have 52.38%, 45.56% and 48.81%, respectively.
Bogra has emerged as the district with the highest positivity rate (38.36%) in Rajshahi, while six out of eight districts in the division have positivity rates from 23% to 35%.
Nur A Alam, assistant Director of Sylhet divisional health office, said the test positivity rate in the division had been fluctuating, though the situation appeared to be improving at the moment.
The Civil Surgeon’s Office of Kishoreganj told Dhaka Tribune the positivity rate in the district was around 20% (19.91%) and they have kept the district under observation.
Our correspondents from Rajshahi, Naogaon, Dinajpur, Satkhira, Khulna, Jhenaidah, Tangail, Rajbari and Faridpur contributed to this report