At the main hospital in Romania's capital, the morgue ran out of space for the dead in recent days, and doctors in Bulgaria have suspended routine surgeries so they can tend to a surge in COVID-19 patients. In the Serbian capital, the graveyard now operates an extra day during the week in order to bury all the bodies arriving. For two months now, a stubborn wave of virus infections has ripped mercilessly through several countries in Central and Eastern Europe, where vaccination rates are much lower than elsewhere on the continent. While medical workers pleaded for tough restrictions or even lockdowns, leaders let the virus rage unimpeded for weeks. "I don't believe in measures. I don't believe in the same measures that existed before the vaccines," Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said last month as the Balkan nation sustained some of its worst daily death tolls of the pandemic. "Why do we have vaccines then?" A World Health Organization official declared earlier this month that Europe is again at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. While several Western European countries are seeing spikes in infections, it is nations to the East that are driving fatalities. Romania, Bulgaria and the Balkan states recorded some of the highest per-capita death rates in the world in the first week of November, according to the WHO. Experts say fumbled vaccination campaigns and underfunded and mismanaged health systems set the stage for the latest outbreaks, which gathered pace as leaders dithered. Some are acting now — but many doctors say it took too long and is still not enough. Many governments in the region are facing elections soon, and that no doubt made them reluctant to force people to get vaccinated or impose unpopular lockdowns even in former Communist nations that once carried out mandatory inoculations without hesitation or where leaders were quick to introduce closures earlier in the pandemic. But politicians' failure to quickly heed the calls of the medical community has likely undermined an already weak trust in institutions in countries where corruption is widespread. Misinformation about vaccines has also found fertile ground amid the broader distrust of authority. That has left countries stumbling through the latest surge with few protections. While nations around the world have struggled with resistance to vaccines, many in Central and Eastern Europe have particularly low rates for places where supply is not an issue. Bulgaria and Romania, both in the European Union, have fully vaccinated about 23% and 35% of their populations, respectively. Bosnia and Herzegovina has just 21% fully vaccinated. Referring to Romania's slow response, physician and health statistician Octavian Jurma described his country as a "textbook example" of the "tragic consequences produced by a political takeover of the pandemic response." Leaders finally introduced a curfew this month, requiring people who don't have a COVID pass — which shows proof of vaccination, recovery from the illness or a negative test — to stay at home from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Infections have since dropped slightly, but hospitals remain overwhelmed. At the main one in Bucharest, the bodies of those who died from COVID-19 lined a hallway in recent days because there was no room in the morgue. Part of a waiting room was transformed into an emergency ward, with the raising of a plastic sheet. In Serbia, some hospitals are so swamped that they are only handling virus patients — leaving doctors to sue Brnabic, whose government faces elections in April. "Since Brnabic said she doesn't believe in measures, some 900 people have died," Slavica Plavsic, a lung disease specialist, told N1 television on Oct. 21. The prime minster has rejected that criticism, saying Thursday that she is proud of her government's response. Meanwhile, authorities at the graveyard in Belgrade say that now they have an average of 65 burials a day, compared with between 35 and 40 before the pandemic. Gravediggers now bury people on Sundays — which typically they didn't — to handle the load. In neighboring Hungary, few mitigating measures are in place. Like Serbia's, Hungary's government says it would prefer to rely on vaccinations. With nearly 60% of people fully vaccinated, the country is better placed than most in the region — but that still leaves a large swath of the population unprotected. Hungary's government earlier this month ordered mask-wearing on public transportation and allowed private employers to mandate vaccines for their staff. But Gyula Kincses, chairman of the Hungarian Chamber of Doctors, said that that was "too little, too late" and recommended that masks be made mandatory in all indoor spaces. In a recent radio interview, Prime Minister Viktor Orban, whose populist party faces election next spring, said that mandatory vaccinations would "be beyond the limits of what Hungarians will accept," even while acknowledging the new restrictions could only slow, not stop, the virus's spread. Hospitals in Bulgaria, with its low vaccination rate, were forced to temporarily suspended all non-emergency surgeries so more doctors could treat the influx of COVID-19 patients. "Politicians now think only about the elections, but there inevitably will be a lockdown, however in tragic circumstances," Ivan Martinov, a leading cardiologist at Sofia's main emergency hospital, told national radio. Parliamentary elections are being held Sunday. Soaring infections appear to have been a wake-up call to some extent in Croatia, which saw unusually large lines of people waiting for vaccines in recent days. Authorities said on Wednesday that more than 15,000 people received their first dose a day earlier — a significant jump after vaccinations all but halted in the Adriatic country of 4.2 million. Croatia and neighboring Slovenia have also introduced COVID passes in recent weeks. But medical organizations in Slovenia have warned that the Alpine country's health system is still on the verge of collapse. They urgently appealed to people to do their best to avoid seeking urgent care in the coming months. "There are traffic accidents, accidents at work, other infections," gasped Bojana Baovic, head of Slovenia's Medical Chamber. "This is an alarming situation that we can cope with through maximum solidarity."
Covid-19 in Bangladesh claimed 17 more lives and infected 1,178 others in 24 hours till Wednesday morning, showing a slight decline in the number of fatalities and cases compared to that of the previous day. On Tuesday, the country logged 31 Covid deaths and 1,310 cases while 21 on Sunday, the lowest in four months. The fresh cases were detected after testing 28,599 samples. Read: Hasina's 'haseen' birthday gift: Over 66 lakh inoculations in single day
New US studies released Friday show the Covid-19 vaccines remain highly effective against hospitalisations and death even as the highly contagious delta variant swept the country. One study tracked over 600,000 Covid-19 cases in 13 states from April through mid-July. As delta surged in early summer, those who were unvaccinated were 4.5 times more likely than the fully vaccinated to get infected, over 10 times more likely to be hospitalised and 11 times more likely to die, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Vaccination works," Dr Rochelle Walensky, CDC's director, told a White House briefing Friday. But as earlier data has shown, protection against Covid infection is slipping: It was 91% in the spring but 78% in June and July, the study found. So-called "breakthrough" cases in the fully vaccinated accounted for 14% of hospitalisations and 16% of deaths in June and July, about twice the percentage as earlier in the year. An increase in those percentages is not surprising: No one ever said the vaccines were perfect and health experts have warned that as more Americans get vaccinated, they naturally will account for a greater fraction of the cases. Read: Global vaccine disparity gets sharper amid talk of boosters Rochelle said Friday that well over 90% of people in US hospitals with Covid are unvaccinated. The CDC released two other studies Friday that signalled hints of waning protection for older adults. One examined Covid hospitalisations in nine states over the summer and found protection for those 75 and older was 76% compared to 89% for all other adults. And in five Veterans Affairs medical centres, protection against Covid hospitalisations was 95% among 18- to 64-year-olds compared to 80% among those 65 and older. It is not clear if the changes seen over time are because immunity is waning in people first vaccinated many months ago, that the vaccine is not quite as strong against delta – or that much of the country abandoned masks and other precautions just as delta started spreading. But the US health authorities will consider this latest real-world data as they decide if at least some Americans need a booster, and how soon after their last dose. Next week, advisers to the Food and Drug Administration will publicly debate Pfizer's application to offer a third shot.
Bangladesh logged 38 more Covid-19 deaths and 2,325 cases in 24 hours till Friday morning, showing a further decline in single-day fatalities and cases. The country reported 58 Covid-related deaths and 2,588 cases on Thursday, indicating a slight increase in both cases and fatalities. But the daily case positivity rate dropped a bit to 8.65 per cent from Thursday’s 8.76 per cent suggesting that the pandemic may be easing in Bangladesh. The fresh numbers pushed the country’s total fatalities to 26,832 while the cases reached 15,27,215 according to a DGHS handout. Also read: Covid-19: Bangladesh kicks off 2nd dose mass vaccination campaign
South Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Jang-keun has appreciated the sacrifices and devotion of nurses at NIANER in treating COVID-19 patients risking their own health. NIANER, National Institute of Advanced Nursing Education & Research in Bangladesh, was established in 2016 with the support of the Korean Government. While visiting NIANER, the envoy said it is playing a crucial role in Bangladesh’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by educating and training qualified nurse leaders. Also read: CSR brings opportunities for businesses: Korean envoy NIANER, first proposed to Korea during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to Seoul in 2010, was formally inaugurated in May 2018 in the presence of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
Maintaining the downtrend in the pandemic situation, Bangladesh reported 70 Covid-related deaths and 3,167 new cases in 24 hours till Friday morning. However, the positivity rate rose a bit to 10.76 % from Thursday’s 10.40 % during the period. Bangladesh logged 88 Covid-19 deaths and 3,436 cases on Thursday. The fresh numbers pushed the country’s total fatalities to 264,32 , while the cases reached 15.10,283, according to Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). Read: Bangladesh reports 88 Covid-19 deaths in past 24 hours: DGHS The country last saw 112 Coronavirus-related deaths on June 29 and the upswing in the fatalities reached its peak on August 5 and 10 when 264 deaths were recorded. The new cases were detected after testing 29,438 samples during the last 24 hours, the DGHS said. The recovery rate rose to 95.52per cent, while the case fatality remained static at 1.75 per cent compared to the corresponding period. Read: Global Covid cases near 219 million However, the situation was much more catastrophic from June to the better part of August as the country experienced a surge of Covid-related caseloads and deaths during that time. Between May and June this year, there was a 273% rise in monthly caseloads and 162% in fatalities. In July, there was a 150% increase in caseloads and a 170% rise in deaths compared to the previous month, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Both the Covid-19 cases and fatalities in Bangladesh dropped further as the country logged 86 deaths and 3,357 new cases respectively in 24 hours till Tuesday morning. The country last saw 112 Coronavirus-related deaths on June 29 and the upswing in the fatalities reached its peak on August 5 and 10 when 264 deaths were recorded. The fresh number pushed the country’s total fatalities to 26,195 while the cases reached 1,500, 618, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). The new cases were detected after the test of 28,097 samples during the last 24 hours, which reduced the daily case positivity rate to 11.95% from Monday’s 12.07 %, said the DGHS. The recovery rate rose to 95.03%, while the case fatality to 1.75 % compared to the corresponding period. Read: Covid-19 : Positivity rate reduces further to 14.76 %, 114 more die
The number of people testing positive for Covid-19 and dying from the virus has continued to fall in Bangladesh, the latest daily figures show. Bangladesh added 117 new fatalities to its national tally Friday – down from 145 logged a week earlier on August 20. The average number of Covid-related fatalities confirmed each day has dropped by more than 110 over the last three weeks, 46% of the previous peak. The country reported below 100, 77 fatalities, on June 26, the highest fatality number – 264 – on August 5 and 10, and 16,230 infections on July 28. Bangladesh is now seeing a sustained drop in the daily case numbers, reporting 5,059 new cases on average each day – 35% of the peak. The highest daily average was reported on August 3. Read: Bangladesh to receive 60 lakh more Pfizer vaccine doses in Aug: Minister
Bangladesh logged 120 Covid-related deaths in 24 hours till Saturday morning, the lowest in about two months amid concern over the unlocking of the country from restrictions imposed to check the spread of the virus. The country last saw 119 Coronavirus related deaths on June 27 and the upward curve of the fatalities reached its peak on August 5 and 10 with 264 deaths. Besides, 3,991 more people came out positive with the virus after testing 23,882 samples during the last 24 hours, according to a handout issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). The fresh number pushed the country’s total fatalities to 25,143 while the cases reached 1,457,194. Read: US okays Covid booster dose for those with weak immune systems Meanwhile the case positivity rate fell to 16.71 % from Friday’s 17.18% , said the DGHS. The country last recorded 16.38% daily case positivity rate on June 20. The recovery rate rose to 93.02 %, but the case fatality increased to 1.73 % compared to the same period. Among the new deaths, 40 died in the Dhaka division, 27 in Chattogram , 15 in Khulna, 13 Sylhet, nine in Rajshahi, seven in Rangpur, six in Mymensingh and three in Barishal division. Read Dengue vs. COVID-19: Symptoms, when & where to test, ways of prevention Of them 69 were male and 51 female. The country is currently seeing around 170 deaths and 6,800 cases on a seven day average. Meanwhile, the government managed to vaccinate 6,395,466 with two doses, while another 16,386,203 people have received the first dose to date, said DGHS.
Bangladesh added 197 fatalities to its national tally on Friday as horrific Covid hospitalisations and deaths continue to soar. The country is averaging 200-plus single-day fatalities for the last three weeks. After weathering the first wave of the virus, Bangladesh is now yet to see any tangible signs that it is turning the corner. However, the country is now reporting 10,602 new cases on average each day – 73% of the peak. Bangladesh recorded 8,465 new cases Friday after testing 40,641 samples, down from 12,606 logged a week earlier on August 6. The country reported the highest daily Covid-19 fatality number – 264 – on August 5 and 10, and 16,230 infections on July 28. Read: Dhaka to receive 10 lakh Sinopharm vaccine doses shortly Bangladesh has been experiencing a surge of Covid-related caseloads and deaths since June 2021.