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Covid surge in Bangladesh: No end in sight

  • Published at 05:46 pm June 24th, 2021
File photo of the entrance of the wing dedicated to Covid-19 patients at Dhaka Medical College Hospital in Dhaka Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Infection rate 100% in Chuadanga in 24 hours

Despite the government imposing a “strict lockdown” in several districts and cutting off transportation services to Dhaka city from nearby districts in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19, the surge in deaths and cases seemingly remains unimpeded.

Bangladesh recorded 6,058 new Covid-19 cases and 81 more deaths in the 24 hours between 8am on Wednesday and 8am on Thursday.

This is the highest number of single-day cases since April 12, when 7,201 new patients were confirmed.

The Covid-19 situation has been turning from bad to worse in several districts. The health authorities in Chuadanga tested 41 samples in the 24-hour period and with a 100% test positivity rate, all of them turned out to be Covid-19 positive.

In light of the worsening pandemic situation, the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 has recommended a complete countrywide shutdown for two weeks.

Also Read- Covid-19: Bangladesh records 6,058 new cases in a day, most in over 10 weeks

In a press release issued in this regard on Thursday, the panel said the infection rate went down in places where a complete shutdown had been enforced.

The positivity rate would keep climbing and the healthcare system would be overwhelmed if the government did not impose a complete lockdown, the committee forewarned. 

Meanwhile, 3,230 patients recovered from the infectious disease between Wednesday and Thursday mornings, according to health directorate data.

The latest developments took the number of total Covid-19 cases to 872,935, with deaths recorded at 13,868 and recoveries at 794,783 in the country.

Of the 81 deaths tallied on Thursday, 55 were men and 26 were women. Of them, 23 died in Khulna division, 20 in Rajshahi, 13 in Dhaka, seven each in Chittagong and Rangpur, five in Sylhet and three each in Mymensingh and Barisal.

Seventy-six of them died while undergoing treatment at different hospitals, while five died at home.

As many as 30,391 samples were tested in the 24 hours at 554 authorized labs across the country, yielding a positivity rate of 19.93%.

Also Read- Govt ready for 14-day shutdown after NTAC recommendation

To date, 6,435,466 tests have been conducted in the country, leading to an overall infection rate of 13.56%, while the mortality rate against the total number of cases detected so far stands at 1.59%.

DGHS data show a spike in the number of daily cases over the past week along with an increase in the number of tests conducted. The country recorded 5,727 cases on Wednesday, 4,846 on Tuesday, 4,636 on Monday, 3,641 on Sunday and 3,057 on Saturday.

Besides, 85 deaths were logged in the 24 hours between Tuesday and Wednesday mornings – a steep rise from Tuesday’s 75 fatalities. It was the highest single-day figure since April 29 when 88 people died of Covid-19.

So far, 9,920 men (71.54%) and 3,948 women (28.46%) have died of Covid-19 throughout the country. 

WHO: 40 districts at very high risk

The World Health Organization (WHO), in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Update released on June 21, flagged 40 districts of Bangladesh as very high-risk zones, 15 districts as high-risk zones and six as moderately risky.

Also Read- Experts: Bangladesh may see dreadful Covid peak ahead of Eid

WHO identified the levels of risk on the basis of a one-week (June 14-20) sample test and patient identification rate.

The very high-risk districts are Chittagong, Cox's Bazar, Sherpur, Jamalpur, Tangail, Gazipur, Kishoreganj, Sylhet, Kushtia, Meherpur, Chuadanga Thakurgaon, Lalmonirhat, Dinajpur, Rangpur, Kurigram, Joypurhat, Naogaon, Bogra, Chapainawabganj, Rajshahi, Natore, Rajbari, Jhenidah, Magura, Faridpur, Jessore, Narail, Madaripur, Gopalganj, Satkhira, Khulna, Bagerhat, Jhalakathi, Pirojpur, Barisal, Chandpur, Feni, Noakhali and Khagrachhari.

Situation in districts

Rajshahi Medical College and Hospital (RMCH) recorded 18 new Covid-related deaths in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day toll at the hospital, reports UNB.

Altogether 260 people have died of Covid-19 at the coronavirus unit of RMCH in the last 24 days, according to official figures.

Notably, the weekly WHO report flagged all 10 districts of Khulna division as very high-risk zones.

Also Read- Record 18 deaths in a day at Rajshahi hospital’s Covid unit

Twenty-three deaths were recorded in the division on Thursday. Moreover, during the 24-hour time frame, 917 tested positive for the disease.

In Bogra, eight new Covid-19 deaths were recorded in a day, the highest single-day toll thus far in the northern district.

Meanwhile, with an infection rate of 48.22%, 122 new Covid-19 patients were identified in Faridpur.

Lax approach to lockdown in Gazipur

Ignoring lockdown restrictions, several shops remained open in Gazipur on Thursday.

Many CNG-run auto-rickshaws and e-rickshaws were also seen plying the streets of the city.

Also Read- 20 more die of Covid-19, 917 test positive in Khulna

Inter-district buses stayed off the roads but that did not deter daily commuters from travelling to the capital via Dhaka-Mymensingh and Dhaka-Tangail highways. They paid extra fares to reach the capital by CNG-powered auto-rickshaws.

Experts had earlier warned that the lockdown enforced by the government would not be effective if banks, offices and factories were allowed to remain open.

To address the issue, the local administration has taken measures to ensure a strict enforcement of the lockdown in the area.

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