With the positivity rates above 10%, as many as 60 districts are still at a high risk of coronavirus infection as Bangladesh lifted virus curbs on Wednesday.
Of the high-risk zones, Munshiganj logged the highest 43.7% positivity rate while Chapainawabganj recorded the lowest 5.1%.
At the onset of the second wave in Bangladesh in May, the positivity rate in Chapainawabganj spiralled to 70%. Strict lockdown and the engagement of local people to enforce it has improved the situation that many call "the Chapai model" of capping Covid infections.
On Wednesday, two districts had the positivity rates above 40%, 13 districts above 30%, 27 districts above 20% and 17 districts above 10%. The rates in four districts – Natore, Pabna, Joypurhat and Chapainawabganj – were below 10%.
On the day, positivity rates in Mymensingh and Sylhet division scored 29.12% and 29.06% respectively, while Rajshahi division clocked the lowest 13.07%.
According to the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), districts with positive rates of 10% and above are considered at a "high risk", while those with 5-9% at a "medium risk" and below 5% is considered as at a "low risk".
The country on Wednesday reported 237 deaths and 10,420 new cases as the daily positivity rate was at 23.45%.
Professor Nazrul Islam, a noted virologist and also a member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, told The Business Standard that the daily positivity rate suggests the virus situation is still dangerous.
"To save lives, we need to ensure 100% people are wearing face masks. Besides, we need to immunise as many people as we can immediately," he noted.
Prof Nazrul said if the positivity rate remains below 5% for two consecutive weeks, then the situation could be considered to improve.
Bangladesh recorded 200 plus deaths on Wednesday for 18 days in a row. The virus curbs have been lifted amid the high infection rates. Public and private offices reopened as public transportations hit the streets.
"The situation is still risky though we had to lift the curbs for the sake of life and livelihood," said Dr M Mushtuq Husain, adviser to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control & Research (IEDCR).
He said the virus situation would take a deadly turn if the precautionary measures falter until the infection rates calm.
Dr Mushtuq advocated for widening the telemedicine coverage for Covid patients with mild symptoms to reduce infections and deaths. He also emphasised maintaining virus safety measures and speeding up the vaccination campaign.
Health directorate data show Covid dedicated hospitals in Dhaka are still struggling with the patient rush. Of the 17 dedicated hospitals in the capital, ten had no intensive care unit (ICU) bed vacant Wednesday. Kurmitola General Hospital had more patients admitted there than the capacity.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Barishal division had the highest 90% general bed occupancy last week as Chattogram had the highest 98% ICU bed occupancy, followed by Sylhet 95%, Khulna 90%, and Dhaka 90%.
Based on the case detection from 27 March to 2 April, the IEDCR earlier flagged 19 areas in the capital with high risk of virus infection. Those areas were said to have 31%-46% positivity rates.
But the institute now does not mention which areas in Dhaka are more exposed to the infection. However, health authorities said the infection rates in Dhaka metropolis and Dhaka division are currently above 20%.
Health directorate spokesperson the infection rate has declined slightly in the last three days. Among the districts, Dhaka now has the highest number of coronavirus patients.
He stressed on vaccination and maintaining health guidelines to deal with the pandemic.