Bangladesh yet again saw the deaths of more than 200 Covid patients – for the fifth consecutive day – and another 12,236 new cases of infection in the past 24 hours.
With 226 deaths, the country's death toll reached 17,278 and the death rate stood at 1.61%, according to the Covid-19 bulletin issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
The cases tally reached 10,71,774 while the positivity rate witnessed a downward trend declining to 27.23% from 29.14% a day ago.
But Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Thursday expressed fears that the Covid-19 infections will increase further due to relaxing the lockdown, which will consequently create pressure on the health system.
"The infection rate will be under control if people follow the health rules," the minister said at a programme organised at the Bangladesh College of Physicians and Surgeons on the occasion of expanding the Dhaka Medical College and Hospital's Covid-19 ICU beds and launching its Outpatient Department.
"People will not be able to enjoy Eid as they did before. We should not wander around in such a way that the joy of Eid turns into sorrow or tragedy. If people die due to infection, there will be no more happiness during Eid, and we will have to mourn," he said.
The health authorities tested 44,941 samples in 627 labs across the country in the past 24 hours.
The spike in deaths in Dhaka division continued as 74 people died from the virus.
Single-day death toll also grew in Khulna and Chattogram divisions. The number of daily deaths rose to 52 today from 46 in the previous day in Khulna and to 42 from 39 in Chattogram.
Moreover, 24 people died in Rajshahi, 13 in Rangpur, 10 in Mymensingh, six in Barishal, and five in Sylhet divisions.
In April this year, 2,404 coronavirus patients died in the country. Besides, the daily death counts crossed the 100-mark five times in that month.
But, during the first half of July, 2,775 Covid-19 patients have already died here. The country reported 200-plus deaths for six days, and 100 plus deaths for eight days this month.
Health minister fears increase in infection
Health Minister Zahid Maleque said, "The number of coronavirus infections in Bangladesh is slightly upward in almost all the divisions. There are 15,000 beds [for Covid-19 patients] in our country, 75% of which are currently occupied by patients. In this situation, hygiene rules must be followed to reduce the infection rate."
He said the country has started getting the benefits of the lockdown as the infections and deaths in northern and southern regions have come down a bit.
"However, the people of the village are getting more affected by Covid-19. Awareness regarding the virus is low among them, so they do not want to go to the hospitals at the initial stage of their infections. Union level health workers have been instructed to go from house to house to find patients. Deaths will be reduced if the patients of the villages are taken to the hospitals quickly and treated," said Zahid Maleque.
Regarding the students in the country, the health minister said they have been making arrangements to gradually vaccinate all citizens above the age of 18 years to revive the country's educational activities. The National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 has made recommendations and the prime minister has given instructions in this regard too.
The minister said, "The health sector currently has the capacity to stock 30 million doses of vaccine in the country. So, it will not be a problem to bring the vaccine from abroad and distribute it properly after storing them."
Commenting on the rural people facing difficulties in registering for the vaccine, the health minister said they would take up a plan to vaccinate them with their national identity cards, but the programme will be launched later.