The coronavirus claimed 60 more lives and infected 3,956 more people in a day in a month-long upward trend in virus transmission across the country.
With the latest figure recorded until 8:00am on Wednesday, the total death toll reached 13,282. The fatality rate stood at 1.59% and daily positivity rate the 16.62%, according to a press release issued by the Directorate General of Health Services.
Meanwhile, the government extended the ongoing countrywide lockdown until 15 July against the alarming rise in infection.
According to a notice, public and private offices will remain open, maintaining health safety guidelines. In the districts that have been facing a rise in infections, deputy commissioners will discuss with local representatives and technical committees concerned to find out ways to prevent further virus transmission.
All tourist spots, resorts, community centres and amusement centres should remain shut in lockdown. Hotels, restaurants and food shops will be allowed to sell food items from 6:00am to 10pm and entertain guests at half their capacity.
All public transports can run with passengers occupying half the seats.
Professor Nazrul Islam, noted virologist and member of the National Technical Advisory committee on Covid-19, said test, isolation and quarantine should be emphasised to control the spread of infection. Otherwise, lockdown will not be effective.
Nazrul pointed out limited Covid testing in highly infected areas. The absence of strict isolation and contact tracing led to an explosion of virus transmission, he said, adding that Covid patients were not even receiving proper treatment for a lack of intensive care units and central oxygen lines in district hospitals.
According to the health directorate, the daily infection was highest on Wednesday in 54 days and the death toll was highest in 43 days.
Over the last week, the highest number of deaths occurred in Rajshahi division, followed by Dhaka, Chattogram and Khulna.
The daily infection rate was highest in Khulna, 40%, followed by Rangpur, 30%, and Rajshahi, 19%.
Spokesperson of the health directorate Prof Nazmul Islam said infections rose in six districts – Khulna, Natore, Chuadanga, Kurigram, Naogaon and Dinajpur.
The vaccine drive will resume on 19 June, he said. All the vaccine centres in Dhaka will start giving the first dose of Pfizer and Chinese Sinopharm vaccines.
If the vaccine supply remains uninterrupted, the immunisation programme will continue. Doses of the Sinopharm vaccine were sent to 37 districts by Tuesday, Nazmul said.
10 lakh more doses of AstraZeneca to arrive by August
Health Minister Zahid Malik on Wednesday said Bangladesh would get 10 lakh more doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine under the global vaccine distribution initiative COVAX by August.
There has been progress in the vaccine negotiation with Russian as well, he said.
Moreover, the agreement with China has been completed. At least 5 lakh people can be vaccinated now as there is a stock of 11 lakh doses, including 6 lakh gifted by China.
"China got disappointed when the price of the Chinese vaccine was made public, which is why it is taking time to get the vaccine," the health minister said.