The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) on Friday recommended that the ongoing countrywide lockdown be continued considering the worsening Covid-19 situation.
The advice came at a time when the country has seen high numbers of Covid-19 infection and deaths this month.
On Friday too, Bangladesh logged 212 deaths from Covid infection and another 13,862 new confirmed cases. July this year alone has seen nearly half the total deaths from the virus so far.
"The Ministry of Public Administration will announce their decision on lockdown. We have suggested they continue it," Professor ABM Khurshid Alam, director general of the DGHS, told the media on Friday.
There will be no problem with vaccination drives amid the lockdown, as our EPI members are staying at their workplaces, he added.
"If the government reopens everything, the infection rate will definitely go up. There is pressure to open factories. But if infections spread further, we will not be able to accommodate patients in hospitals," he added.
Health experts also endorsed the DGHS' opinion about the lockdown and the continuous disease surveillance all over the country with the rapid mass vaccination.
In this situation, the Cabinet Division issued a notification on Friday stating that all export-oriented factories will remain out of the purview of the prevailing restrictions from Sunday.
The development came in the wake of business leaders' constant requests to the government to allow factories to operate amid lockdown.
Speaking on the reopening announcement of all export-oriented factories from 1 August, Mushtaq Hussain, adviser to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control & Research (IEDCR), told The Business Standard, "Infections and deaths are still high and this is not right time to relax restrictions on movement. Instead, the government could find out a new strategy to prolong the restrictions protecting the livelihoods of economically vulnerable people."
The health directorate DG said the government has a plan to vaccinate one crore people every month. The target will be revised every moment according to the availability of Covid shots, he added.
The health minister will hold a press briefing on 6 August and talk about the mass vaccination campaign in detail.
At the village level, there might be problems in vaccination showing the NID, the health DG said, adding that there could be some chaos regarding this. "We have sought cooperation from the local government, home ministry and public representatives."
The health minister will hold online meetings with upazila chairmen and local public representatives on the issue.
Slight decrease in infection, deaths
The country on Friday saw a slight dip in Covid-19 deaths as 212 people died from the virus in the past 24 hours, taking the death toll to 20,467 in the country.
The number of daily cases also fell during the period with 13,862 new confirmed cases, which took the case tally to 12,40,115.
However, the positivity rate went up to 30.77%, up from 29.21% in the previous day, as the number of samples tested in the past 24 hours declined to 45,044. The health authorities tested 52,282 samples on Thursday.
With the latest casualties, the country has been reporting over 200 deaths for the past six days in a row for the very first time, with the highest ever 258 deaths reported on 27 July.
The country registered the highest single-daily infections of 16,230 on 28 July.
A division-wise analysis of Covid-19 casualties in last 24 hours shows that Dhaka reported the highest 65 deaths followed by 53 in Chattogram, 36 in Khulna, 17 in Sylhet, 13 in Rajshahi, 11 in Barishal, nine in Rangpur and eight in Mymensingh division.
Among the 212 deceased, 119 were men and 93 were women.
With the surge in deaths and cases, the number of recoveries also increased, as 13,975 patients recovered from the viral disease in the preceding 24 hours.
The total number of recoveries now stands at 10,64,195 and the recovery rate is 85.81%.
The ongoing 14-day nationwide strict lockdown started on 23 July following an eight-day break for Eid-ul-Adha.