by Staff Correspondent in Dhaka;
Bangladesh has reported the highest number of novel coronavirus infections and deaths in a single day, the government said on Monday.
The health ministry in a statement said some 15,192 infections and 247 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours despite a nationwide lockdown imposed shutting offices, transportations, factories and shopping malls to curb the virus surge.
With the new surge believed to have caused by lifting of the health restrictions nearly two weeks ago, the total caseload rose to 1,179,827 and fatality toll to 19,521 since the pandemic began in March last year.
Health experts earlier warned that the outbreak might worsen when the authorities on July 13 relaxed the restrictions for more than a week to facilitate businesses and people’s movement ahead of the Muslim’s celebration of Eid-al-Adha festival.
Health rules were disregarded when people left the major cities enmasse to their homes villages by crowded vehicles, and many thronged to cattle markets to buy sacrificial animals for their festival. The lockdown was re-imposed a day after the celebration was ended. The current spell of the shutdown will end on August 5 unless the government decides otherwise.
Giving the grim picture of the infections, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said the nation was passing through a “very difficult” time. He said nearly 90 per cent of the hospital beds are occupied and the health workers were tried of working hard for one and a half years.
“Every state has limitation to its capacity; hospitals have their limitations too. We will be trying our best (to treat the patients) as we are doing now,” said the minister calling upon everyone to follow the health guidelines to help slow the spread of the virus.
He requested the citizens to wear masks, stay indoors unless it is urgent and get their vaccine doses.
To cope up the situation, the minister said, the government will shortly recruit 8,000 health workers, including 4,000 doctors. He Believes the new recruitment will further improve the healthcare services and boost the ant-Covid-19 vaccination campaign nationwide.
Some 2.6 per cent of Bangladesh’s 160 million population have so far been fully vaccinated while 1.09 per cent are partially vaccinated, according to statistics providing website ourworldindata.org.
The South Asian country resumed mass vaccination in the first week of July after nearly a month of suspension over supply crunch of the doses from India in May. The country has received vaccine doses from the United States and China. It is also tapping other sources like Japan and Russia.