While large parts of Europe are bracing for a third wave of Covid-19 infections, countries in South Asia are fearing the start of a second wave as infections have kept surging since the beginning of this month.
Health experts have blamed the fresh infection wave on people's relaxed attitude to mask-wearing and other social distancing measures.
In the wake of the emergence of new variants of the novel coronavirus in various parts of the world, they have asked for ensuring isolation and quarantine for foreign returnees.
They fear the second wave of infection will be terrible.
Most of the countries across the region reported rising tallies of coronavirus cases and fatalities on Saturday.
Even though the 1,868 fresh cases reported by Bangladesh in 24 hours till Saturday at 8 am was the lowest in the past three days, the rate of positive Covid tests remained close to 10% on the day.
On the other hand, the fatality curve of the novel coronavirus has kept rising steeply in the country, with newly reported 26 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Even though the infection rate was below 5% for the last two months, all the major Covid-19 indicators – new cases, mortality and daily infection rate – have been spiralling since early this month.
The daily counts have been exceeding 1,000 cases per day since 10 March.
Around 15,500 people tested positive for the coronavirus in the country in the last ten days -- more than the total number of cases recorded in the entire month of February. In February, 11,077 new patients were identified.
The overall death toll now stands at 8,668 and the number of Covid-19 cases now stands at 564,939 in the country, according to a press release issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) on Saturday.
Dr M Mushtuq Husain, consultant of the Covid-19 Pandemic Control at the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research, termed the current situation of infection "worrying".
It took a few months for the infection rate to go down, but it has been back to the risky level within two weeks, he said.
"The second wave of infections is always dreadful. So we have to go for stringent measures right away to prevent this," he told The Business Standard.
"Isolation, quarantine, hand-washing, mask-wearing and vaccination are needed to prevent infection. But our health sector has forgotten about isolation and quarantine," he observed.
Coronavirus infections in Bangladesh reached their mainly between June and August last year. It was basically summer.
Although it was presumed that the risk of infection would increase in winter, it did not happen. The infection is on the rise again with the onset of warm weather at the end of winter.
Explaining the reasons for this, Professor Nazrul Islam, noted virologist and member of the National Technical Advisory Committee, told TBS, "In our country the prevalence of fever, cold, pneumonia, influenza virus remains high during winter. Therefore, the coronavirus could not spread much because of these native viruses.
"Now that the weather has become warm again, the coronavirus is spreading fast, raising the infection rate. Infection is on the rise in many Indian states where the climate is similar to that of Bangladesh."
To prevent infections, this heath expert has advised the authorities not to allow large-scale ceremonies, ensure mandatory mask-wearing, and have adequate ICUs, high-flow nasal canals and oxygen at hospital.
Meanwhile, India reported 40,953 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the biggest daily jump in nearly four months, with Maharashtra accounting for more than half the infections, reports Reuters.
Deaths rose by 188 to 159,404, the health ministry reported, underscoring a resurgence of the virus in the world's third worst affected country, after the United States and Brazil.
Some regions in India have already re-imposed containment measures, including lockdowns and restaurant closures, and more are being considered.
The rise in India's Covid-19 cases peaked at nearly 100,000 a day in September, and had been falling steadily until late last month.
Pakistan on Saturday recorded its highest single-day increase in the coronavirus infections this year with 3,876 new cases as the positivity rate reached 9.4% in the country.
The national tally of cases reached 623,135 while the death toll jumped to 13,799 as 40 patients died in the last 24 hours, the health ministry said, reports PTI.
Islamabad district administration announced that both indoor and outdoor dining in restaurants of the capital will be closed after 10pm along with all other commercial activities other than essential services link drug stores.
However, takeaway services were allowed to keep the restaurants functional.
As the first head of the government in the region, Pakistan Prime minister Imran Khan on Saturday tested positive for the Covid-19 and is self-isolating himself, the country's health minister Dr Faisal Sultan said.
Khan, 67, tested positive two days after he received the first shot of vaccination against the coronavirus.
Sri Lanka recorded 473 new cases of infections on Saturday – the highest since 7 March.
Fresh infections in Nepal and Afghanistan also have been on an upward for the past several weeks.
Europe intensifies lockdown measures
In the wake of a steep rise in infections over the past several weeks, France on Friday imposed a month-long lockdown on Paris and parts of the north.
Belgium followed suit tightening existing restrictions due to end on 1 May. German health minister Jens Spahn has also said rising infections there could prompt an extension of lockdown in place since mid-December.
Europe became the first region to record over 1 million coronavirus-related deaths on Friday as vaccination efforts try to keep up with new variants causing a third wave of infections that could once again overwhelm hospitals, Reuters reported.
In Reuters tally, the region includes the 27-member European Union, Britain, Russia, and some others.