Health minister: 20-fold rise in infection rate due to Omicron spread

Actual number of Covid cases is much higher than what’s officially reported, says Zahid Maleque

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The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has rapidly spread in Bangladesh causing infections to spike significantly in recent weeks, says Health Minister Zahid Maleque.

“The infection rate has increased 20 times, which is alarming,” he said at a media call in Dhaka on Thursday, when he announced to cut the age limit for vaccine to 12 years and for booster shots to 40 years.

"There were 400-500 patients admitted to hospitals prior to Omicron but now, it has already crossed 2,500-3,000. If the situation continues, it will be difficult to handle the pressure,” he added.

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The health minister also said that the actual number of Covid case is much higher than what’s officially reported.

"I think the number of Covid-19 patients in Bangladesh is a lot more than the official data, because most people don't get tested. If everyone is tested, the infection rate would be multiple times higher," the minister said.

Maleque, however, said that deaths are lower in Bangladesh than in other countries because of the vaccination programs carried out by the government.

He urged the citizens not to underestimate the Omicron variant, and requested everyone to follow the health guidelines.

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