Covid-19 claimed 31 more lives in Bangladesh, including 13 in Dhaka division, in the past 24 hours until Thursday morning, showing a fall in fatalities compared to the previous day.
The country saw 40 Covid deaths on Wednesday and 33 on Tuesday. The latest number took the official Covid-related death count to 12,076.
However, the mortality rate remained unchanged at 1.55%, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
Bangladesh also confirmed 778,687 Covid-19 cases with 1,290 people coming out positive in 13,371 tests over the same period.
The daily infection rate rose to 9.58% from Wednesday's 7.45%, while the recovery rate stood at 92.41%.
Bangladesh has so far carried out 5,690,693 tests since reporting its first Covid-19 cases on March 8 last year and the first fatality from the virus on the 18th of the month.
The country experienced a surge in Covid-19 cases in April and the daily cases fell below 2,000 in early May. Also, it has been seeing below 60 daily deaths for a week after recording over 100 fatalities on several occasions in April.
Dhaka hit hardest
Dhaka has remained the worst-hit division, recording 6,985 fatalities or 57.84% of the total deaths until now. Of the total daily deaths, 13 deaths were reported from Dhaka alone and nine from Chattogram.
Lockdown falls flat ahead of Eid
The nationwide lockdown, imposed on April 4 to break the chain of Covid-19 infections and fatalities, has been extended till May 16 to limit public movement or contain the surge in daily infections.
Officials of all government, semi-government autonomous and private organisations, banks and financial institutions have been asked not to leave their workstations during the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr holidays.
However, the lockdown measures fell flat ahead of the upcoming Eid celebrations.
The DGHS has expressed concerns that mass travel could lead to a resurgence of infections as the restrictions could not deter people from travelling to their village homes ignoring health risks.
At least five people died and 50 others injured Wednesday in a stampede as thousands of people returned to their native villages from Dhaka and other cities for Eid-ul-Fitr, defying Covid-19 restrictions.
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 purchased from India's Serum Institute.
The government 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.
The administering of the first dose in Bangladesh has remained suspended since April 26. Also, the country, the prime recipient of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, has suspended the registration for Covid-19 jabs due to vaccine shortage amid a delay in the timely arrival of shipments from India.
5 lakh Chinese vaccine doses arrive
Bangladesh on Wednesday received 5 lakh doses of China's Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine as a gift.
The development came after the World Health Organization (WHO) listed the Sinopharm vaccine for emergency use, giving a nod for it to be rolled out globally.
Bangladesh was initially reluctant to receive the Chinese vaccine until it got the WHO green signal but the second wave of the pandemic forced the country's health authorities to approve the jabs alongside Russia's Sputnik vaccine to continue its vaccination drive.
South Asia: The new global hotspot?
South Asia, home to a quarter of the world's population, is fast becoming the new global hotspot of the Covid-19 pandemic. Extremely low vaccination rates across South Asia have also put millions of lives in the region at risk.
India and Nepal's healthcare systems are reaching breaking point. The virus is spreading and crossing borders at a frightening speed. Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are also seeing a surge.
The new Indian variant of coronavirus has been detected in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, prompting authorities to axe travel corridors with India. It has been designated a variant of concern by the WHO that might be more contagious than most versions of the coronavirus.