While the number of Covid-19 tests has been gradually decreasing in the country, the infection rate has picked up pace.
Between Friday 8am and Saturday 8am, a total of 11,193 samples were tested – the lowest number in the last 40 days. However, 2,686 people tested positive for Covid-19 within this 24-hour period, taking the infection rate to its single-day highest at 24 percent.
The infection rate had been fluctuating between 20 and 23 percent since June despite a higher number of tests being conducted.
Professor Nazrul Islam, a noted virologist and former vice-chancellor of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, said the infection rate has increased as more tests are being carried out in areas where the spread of the novel coronavirus is more prevalent.
"A more accurate idea about the infection rate can be found by testing 20,000 samples per day," he added.
Analysing data provided by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) shows that 15,965 samples were tested on June 10. Since then, the number of tests has fluctuated between 15,000 and 18,000. On June 26, the highest 18,498 samples were tested in a single day.
However, on July 3, the number of sample tests suddenly dropped to 14,650. Then tests kept gradually decreasing each day, finally falling below the 11,439 tests that had been done on June 1.
DGHS Assistant Director Dr Ayesha Akther told The Business Standard that testing has decreased due the introduction of testing fees. At present, the fee for testing is fixed even for government employees and those who do not have symptoms are not getting tested.
In addition, according to the World Health Organization's (WHO) new discharge criteria, patients can now be released from the hospital without a second test. People in many parts of the country are also not going to get tested because of flooding, she added.
On Saturday, the total number of infections in Bangladesh stood at 181,129, DGHS Additional Director General Professor Dr Nasima Sultana disclosed during the daily Covid-19 briefing.
With the death of 30 more people since Friday morning, the death toll stood at 2,304 and the death rate was 1.27 percent.
"Of the deceased, 12 were from Dhaka, 14 from Chattogram, six from Khulna, three from Rangpur, and two each from the Sylhet, Mymensingh and Rajshahi divisions," Dr Nasima said.
Eighteen of them died in different hospitals, 11 at their respective homes and one was diagnosed with the infection posthumously.
"Some 11,475 samples were collected in the last 24 hours and 11,193 were tested in 77 labs across the country. So far, 904,784 samples have been tested," she added.
Additionally, 1,628 patients recovered during the 24-hour period, increasing the tally to 88,034.
Around 48.60 percent of novel coronavirus patients – both symptomatic and asymptomatic – had recovered in Bangladesh till Saturday morning.
A total 1,824 people who have died of Covid-19 were male and 481 were female, which is 79.13 percent and 20.87 percent, respectively.
Of the deceased, 50.02 percent hailed from Dhaka division, 26.55 percent from Chattogram, 5.07 percent from Rajshahi, 4.99 from Khulna, 4.30 percent from Sylhet, 3.60 percent from Barishal, 3.08 percent from Rangpur, and 2.39 percent from Mymensingh.