No plans to impose countrywide lockdown unless overall test positivity rate reaches 15-20%, rate currently on 13.53%
The daily Covid-19 infection rate crossed 20% on Wednesda, while the death toll continued to climb at a rate akin to the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in April last year.
Despite the rising number of infections and deaths, the government has said there are no plans to impose a countrywide lockdown unless the overall infection rate reaches the 15-20% range.
The country recorded 5,727 Covid-19 cases in the 24 hours till Wednesday morning, the highest daily caseload recorded in over two months. The last time more people tested positive for Covid-19 on a single day in the country was when 6,028 new infections were confirmed on April 13.
Meanwhile, 85 more people succumbed to the coronavirus on the day, the highest single-day death toll since 88 people lost their lives on April 29.
With the latest developments, the total number of deaths reached 13,787 and the number of confirmed infections rose to 866,877.
Wednesday was the fifth consecutive day of increasing new infections, with 3,057 people testing positive on Saturday, 3,641 on Sunday, 4,636 on Monday, and 4,846 on Tuesday.
As many as 28,580 samples, including pending ones, were tested at 554 authorized labs across the country in the 24 hours till Wednesday morning. The 5,727 confirmed new infections amount to a daily test positivity rate of 20.27%.
To date, 6,405,075 tests have been conducted in the country, leading to an overall infection rate of 13.53%.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) released the latest figures on Covid-19 in the country through a press release on Wednesday afternoon.
Of the 85 deceased – 55 men and 30 women – 36 were from Khulna division, 19 from Dhaka, 18 from Rajshahi, seven from Chittagong, three from Mymensingh, and one each from Barisal and Rangpur divisions.
Seventy-four of them died while undergoing treatment at different hospitals of the country, 10 died at home, and one was declared dead on arrival at a hospital.
As many as 46 of the deceased patients were aged above 60, 18 between 51 and 60, 11 between 41 and 50, and 10 aged between 31 and 40.
So far, 9,865 men (71.55%) and 3,922 women (28.45%) have died from Covid-19 across the country.
Since the beginning, 7,434 people have died in Dhaka division, 2,620 in Chittagong, 916 in Rajshahi, 1,064 in Khulna, 410 in Barisal, 506 in Sylhet, 548 in Rangpur, and 289 in Mymensingh.
The mortality rate against the total number of cases detected so far stands at 1.59%.
The health authorities said 3,168 more people had recovered from the disease over the preceding 24 hours. So far, 792,553 patients – 91.31% – have made full recovery across the country.
No countrywide lockdown if overall infection rate remains below 15%
At a virtual press conference on Wednesday, DGHS spokesperson Dr Robed Amin said the government planned to impose a nationwide lockdown if the overall infection rate reached the 15-20% range.
“If the National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19 recommends a countrywide lockdown, then we will consider it,” he added.
The DGHS spokesperson also said movement restrictions across the country would be extended till July 15.
“Covid-19 dedicated hospitals in Dhaka city have a few vacant seats, but Covid-19 dedicated hospitals in other districts are overflowing with patients, which is worrisome,” he said.
Covid-19 deaths keep piling up in Khulna division
Khulna division recorded 36 deaths from Covid-19 in the 24 hours till Wednesday morning, the highest among all the divisions over the period.
Dr Robed Amin said districts that share borders with India still had alarmingly high infection rates, and they were showing no signs of being reduced.
A total 156 patients are currently undergoing treatment at the Covid-19 unit of Khulna General Hospital.
Of them, 98 people are being treated in the red zone of the hospital, 22 in the yellow zone, 20 in the intensive care unit (ICU), and 16 in the high dependency unit (HDU), said Dr Suhash Ranjan Haldar, nodal person for the Covid-19 unit.
Khulna division’s infection rate was 39.72% on Wednesday.
Lockdown extended in Rajshahi
Notwithstanding the lockdown restrictions, the frontier district of Rajshahi is witnessing a surge in Covid-19 deaths with each passing day.
Rajshahi Medical College and Hospital (RMCH) on Wednesday morning recorded 16 new Covid-19-related deaths over the preceding 24 hours.
Among the deceased, eight had tested positive for Covid-19, while the others showed symptoms of the disease, said the hospital’s Director Brig Gen Shamim Yeazdani.
He told Dhaka Tribune’s Rajshahi correspondent that the lockdown in Rajshahi should have been imposed earlier.
“I think the infection rate will come down in two weeks or so if people follow the lockdown rules,” he said.
Of the deceased, eight were from the Rajshahi district, three from Chapainawabganj, two each from Natore and Naogaon, and one was from Jhenaidah.
On Tuesday, 457 samples were tested at two laboratories of the district and 151 came back positive, yielding an infection rate of 33.05%. On Wednesday, the infection rate in Rajshahi district was 18.54%.
The Covid-19 lockdown has been extended for another week in Rajshahi city to bring the worsening situation under control.
The authorities on Wednesday imposed a week-long lockdown in Jibannagar upazila of Chuadanga district to curb the spread of Covid-19. The lockdown will remain in force till midnight of June 30.