The Covid-19 situation is worsening around the world by the day, even with mass inoculations underway. The overall number of corona cases has now topped 161.5 million.
According to Johns Hopkins University (JHU), the total caseload reached 161,566,026 while the death toll from the virus mounted to 3,353,630 on Saturday morning.
Besides, 1,410, 840,110 vaccine doses have been administered across the globe to date, said JHU.
The US, the worst-hit country in the world, has so far recorded 32,894,616 cases with 585,225 fatalities, as per the latest JHU data.
Neighbouring India has registered 24,046,809 cases with 262,317 fatalities to date, according to the health ministry.
India has been experiencing a staggering Covid-19 situation for the past several weeks and the World Health Organization has designated the Indian variant "a variant of concern" that might be more contagious than most versions of the coronavirus.
Brazil on Friday reported 2,211 more deaths from Covid-19, raising the national count to 432,628, the Ministry of Health said.
According to the ministry, Brazil now has a death rate of 205.9 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Meanwhile, 85,536 more infections were detected, raising the nationwide tally to 15,519,525.
Brazil has the world's second-highest Covid-19 death toll, after the United States, and the third-largest caseload, following the United States and India.
Situation in Bangladesh
Bangladesh lost 26 more lives to Covid-19, including nine in Dhaka and seven in Chattogram divisions, in the past 24 hours till Friday morning amid muted Eid celebrations in the wake of the pandemic.
The latest number – lowest in 51 days – took the country's Covid-related death count to 12,102. However, the mortality rate remained unchanged at 1.55%, according to the Directorate General of Health Services.
Bangladesh has so far confirmed 779,535 Covid-19 cases, with 848 people coming out positive in 7,835 tests in 24 hours till Friday morning.
Another lockdown extension looms
The nationwide lockdown, imposed on April 5 to break the chain of Covid-19 infections and fatalities, has been extended several times to limit public movement or contain the surge in daily infections.
The ongoing lockdown, set to end on May 16, is likely to be extended by another week to keep close tabs on the situation as a mass exodus from the cities before Eid-ul-Fitr has stoked fears of a third wave of infections.
The lockdown measures fell flat as tens of thousands of people left Dhaka and other cities to join their families in home villages to celebrate Eid, despite stark warnings that the exodus could worsen the country's coronavirus outbreak.
The country’s health authorities have expressed concerns that the mass travel will spread the coronavirus and reverse a recent hard-won decline in cases following weeks of nationwide lockdown.
At least five people died and 50 others were injured in a stampede on Wednesday as thousands of people returned to their native villages from Dhaka and other cities for Eid-ul-Fitr, defying all Covid-19 restrictions.
Another Eid celebration robbed of by pandemic
Muslims celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr in a dull mood for the second year in a row on Thursday and Friday as coronavirus restrictions cast shadows over the festival's mass gatherings and family reunions.
Many Covid-hit countries, including Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Malaysia and Indonesia, imposed curbs and shut shops and even some mosques.
Earlier, Bangladeshi authorities urged everyone not to congregate to offer special prayers for the festival on Friday and instead offer prayers in phases at local mosques following health guidelines.
In Dhaka, devotees attended the first congregation of Eid-ul-Fitr prayers at Baitul Mukarram National Mosque. Four congregations took place there till 10.15am.
'Variant of concern'
The new Indian variant of coronavirus has been detected in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, prompting authorities to axe travel corridors with India. The World Health Organization has designated it "a variant of concern" that might be more contagious than most versions of the coronavirus.
In Bangladesh, the South African variant is "widely present" and the UK variant has also been detected.
Viruses mutate constantly, and an upsurge in infections in a country could result in more opportunities for new versions to emerge, according to experts.
In late January, countries including Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka started receiving vaccine doses through donations from India and other countries and commercial deals.
Bangladesh launched its vaccination drive on February 7 with Oxford-AstraZeneca doses it acquired from India's Serum Institute.
The government had signed an agreement with Serum for 30 million doses. But India temporarily halted exports of vaccines on March 24 to prioritise domestic requirements, following an explosion in Covid cases and fatalities in the country. The move has left the region with a serious shortage of vaccines.