Fatalities rise to 247, fresh infections to 15,192 in 24 hours
Bangladesh has once again recorded its highest daily coronavirus death toll as well as the highest number of single-day cases, amid a deadly second wave leaving hospitals across the country overwhelmed.
The health authorities reported 247 deaths and 15,192 new infections in the 24 hours to 8am on Monday. The latest figures took overall fatalities to 19,521 while the caseload surged to 1,179,827.
As many as 50,952 samples were tested across the country during the same time, yielding a 29.82% infection rate.
The uptrend of infection and deaths have been continuing for the last few months but the country has never seen such a single day surge before.
To tackle the situation, the government had imposed a strict lockdown from July 1 to July 14. However, it was relaxed during Eid-ul-Azha for nine days, ignoring health experts’ advice. The fresh spell of a strict lockdown was put in place from July 23.
Experts believe that the withdrawal of restrictions ahead of the Eid holidays have fueled the surge in Covid deaths and infections.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Sunday said that 75% of Covid patients admitted to different hospitals in Dhaka recently were holidaymakers who had returned from their village homes after Eid.
If the infection continues to increase like this, there will be no place left in the hospitals, he said.
Dr Mustaq Hussain, advisor to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), said: “I think the lockdown from July 1-14 was not very successful in terms of the Covid infection rate. The number fluctuated, but it was the same more or less. During the three days of Eid holidays, the number of cases was lower but the infection rate was higher. We knew that the number was going to rise."
"People didn’t come for testing last week due to the Eid holidays, which is showing the impact now. We can assume the infection rate is going to be even higher in the coming days as a result of a relaxing of the lockdown for Eid," said Dr Mustaq, who is a member of the National Deployment and Vaccination Plan for Covid-19 Vaccines in Bangladesh.
Dr Tarek Hussain, National Covid-19 Public Health Advisor at DGHS, said: “Between the two lockdowns of this month, we're seeing the current one to be most strictly observed. Monday’s cases and deaths are the result of a relaxed lockdown in the first half of the month. Still, something is better than nothing.”
“The second week of this current lockdown is very important. If citizens cannot keep patience, we will suffer for this in August.”
He also criticized the government's coordination in preparing the field hospitals, which are yet to start their operation.
4th highest daily deaths recorded in the world on Monday
On Monday, Bangladesh recorded the fourth highest number of single day fatalities in the world.
Indonesia, Russia and Iran recorded 1,487, 727 and 323 new deaths respectively till 8pm on Monday, according to Worldometer.
Bangladesh, with over 160 million people, became fifth in terms of recording the highest number of daily Covid-19 cases.
According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Dhaka logged 7,953 cases, the highest among the divisions, followed by Chittagong with 2,467 cases, Khulna with 1,186, and Rajshahi with 908.
Dhaka division reported 72 deaths, the highest among the eight divisions, followed by Khulna with 46 deaths.
Chittagong division counted 61 deaths while Rajshahi had 21, Rangpur 16, Barisal 12, Sylhet 14, and Mymensingh five.
The mortality rate against the total number of cases detected so far stands at 1.65%.
Highest positivity in Sylhet
Sylhet division counted the highest 42% test positivity rate among all eight divisions. In Sunamganj district, the test positivity rate stood at 45%.
Barisal division reported the second highest test positivity rate with 40%. Barisal district logged a positivity rate of 49%.
Meanwhile, Chittagong division recorded a 38% test positivity rate. The Chittagong hill tracts district of Khagrachhari recorded the highest among the districts of the division with 51% test positivity. Comilla and Lakshmipur recorded 41% each, Chandpur 40%, while Chittagong district’s test positivity rate stood at 37% in the last 24 hours.
Dhaka division’s test positivity rate stood at 29%. Gazipur turned out to be the hotspot in the division as the district reported 65% test positivity. Shariatpur reported 50% while the test positivity rate of Dhaka district stood 28% over the 24-hour period.
Mymensingh division reported 30% test positivity while Rangpur had 27%, Khulna 26%, and Rajshahi 21%.
Only 18% ICU beds are available for critical patients
There are only 238 vacant beds, some 18%, among the altogether 1,323 ICU beds in the country.
Out of the 58 Covid-19 dedicated hospitals in Dhaka division till date, ICU beds in 30 hospitals are fully occupied. Of the 16 government facilities in Dhaka city, all ICU beds in 10 hospitals are occupied.
Of the 21 Covid dedicated hospitals in Chittagong division, 16 facilities have no ICU beds vacant.
In Khulna, six out of 10 hospitals in Khulna have all their ICU beds occupied.