For the third time in four days, Bangladesh recorded its highest daily coronavirus cases as the health authorities confirmed 6,469 new infections on Thursday afternoon.
The infection rate jumped to 22.94 percent from 19.9 of Wednesday’s when the country recorded 5,358 cases, the highest in months.
On Tuesday, 5,042 cases were recorded and the number was 5,181 on Monday.
Bangladesh had seen a sharp decline in cases and the daily infection rate dropped below 5 percent but the sudden spurt appears to have caught the health sector unawares. There is hardly any bed available at hospitals treating coronavirus patients.
The country’s covid caseload soared to 617,764 after it recorded its highest-ever single day case count, according to a handout issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
During the 24-hour period until Thursday morning, 2,539 coronavirus patients recovered, taking the number of recoveries to 544,938.
Bangladesh reported its first cases on March 8 last year and confirmed the first death from the virus 10 days later.
The country has so far tested 4,698,774 samples, including 28,198 in the last 24 hours, the DGHS said.
Dhaka sees highest deaths
Meanwhile, the fatalities reached 9,105 with 59 new deaths. The mortality rate slipped slightly to 1.47 percent.
Coronavirus claimed 568 lives in January this year, 281 in February and 638 in March.
Among the latest victims, 40 people died in Dhaka division, five in Chattogram, two each in Rajshahi and Rangpur, four in Khulna, one in Barishal and five in Sylhet division.
So far, 5,192 coronavirus patients died in Dhaka division, 1,645 in Chattogram, 506 in Rajshahi, 586 in Khulna, 274 in Barishal, 325 in Sylhet, 376 in Rangpur and 201 in Mymensingh divisions.
So far 6,847 men (75.20) and 2,258 women (24.80) died of the virus.
Govt strengthens protective steps
The daily surge prompted the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to issue an 18-point directive on Monday to prevent the virus’ transmission.
On the same day, the Health Ministry proposed strict measures like partial lockdowns for some places with higher Covid-19 transmission rates.
Other recommendations made by the ministry include closure of amusement centres, picnic spots, religious gatherings, limiting wedding ceremonies, strengthening quarantine systems, limiting passengers in public transports, and limiting attendance in offices.
It also suggested strong enforcement of the ‘no mask no service’ policy, increasing numbers of mobile courts and slapping fines on health guideline violators.
The administrations in various districts have shut down the amusement centres and are urging people to mask up. But a large number of people are still reluctant to follow covid health guidelines, putting themselves and others around them at risk.
The government launched a countrywide vaccination campaign on February 7 with doses received from the Serum Institute of India.
Bangladesh inked an agreement with Serum in December last year for 30 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. Serum is supposed to supply the doses between January and June this year – 5 million each month.
Coronavirus cases were first reported in China in December 2019. Since then, countries around the world have reported 128.8 million cases and 2.8 million deaths so far, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
A number of vaccines have been developed to fight the virus. Most notable of them are those made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Oxford-AstraZeneca.