The authorities on Sunday said that 40 people died in Bangladesh of COVID-19 in the 24 hours until 8:00am on the day, the highest daily death toll since the coronavirus was first reported in the country over three months ago.
‘The daily deaths from COVID-19 set a new record in the last 24 hours,’ said Health Services additional director general Nasima Sultana in the regular online briefing.
With the latest figure, the death tally rose to 650, she said.
The Health Services also reported 2,545 new infections — 21.43 per cent of the 11,876 samples tested during the same period.
The authorities have so far confirmed 47,153 coronavirus infections in the country since they announced the country’s first three cases on March 8.
Bangladesh saw a steep climb in its daily infection and death numbers since the government partially lifted restrictions on the public movement to resume operations in markets and factories on May 10.
The country had relaxed its countrywide lockdown as it entered the 10th week of infection. In the ninth week, the official estimate recorded 39 deaths from COVID-19 and 4,980 infections.
Although the official estimates pointed at a worsening COVID-19 situation, the government on Sunday (yesterday) lifted all restrictions on the public movement reopening all offices and businesses.
Streams of people moved onto streets with the restrictions disappearing in one of the world’s most densely populated places.
Health experts warned of dire consequences and the social media was flooded with apprehensions that the country was on the brink of a disaster from where there would be no turning back.
Bangladesh entered the 13th week of infection on Sunday with the Health Services reporting 406 new recoveries in the 24-hour period.
‘So far 9,781 people have recovered — 20.74 per cent of the total infected,’ said Nasima in the press briefing.
The daily recovery number has kept rising steadily after the government relaxed its hospital release protocols for COVID-19 patients allowing them to go home as their symptoms started improving.
Since then, the number of deaths at home has been increasing.
Of the new deceased, 33 were men and seven were women, according to the Health Services.
The new deaths were reported from five divisions — 28 from Dhaka, eight from Chattogram, two from Khulna and one each from Rajshahi and Rangpur.
The highest 22 deceased were aged 41–50 years and 61–70 years, said Nasima.
At least eight people aged between 51 and 60 years also died while five deceased were aged between 31 and 40 years, four between 71 and 80 years and one between 21 and 30 years, she said.
In the 10th week of infection Bangladesh recorded 100 deaths and 7,225 infections.
The number of deaths rose to 138 in the 11th week while infections to 11,083.
As many as 158 people died in the 12th week and 12,587 more tested coronavirus positive.
The actual numbers of COVID-19 death and infection are believed to be far greater than those reported by the authorities because of inadequate COVID-19 diagnosis.
People keep dying every day with coronavirus-like symptoms and most of them never get tested.
A Dhaka University study released in mid-May revealed that 929 people died with coronavirus symptoms.
Some health experts believe that from 30 to 40 per cent of the country’s160 crore people have already been infected with the virus and many of them are now showing symptoms.
Bangladesh is the worst performer among the South Asian nations in terms of tests done per million population.
Nasima said that in the last 24-hour reporting period they received 179,833 helpline calls related to COVID-19, many of the callers requesting tests.
So far the government helpline has received more than 87 lakh calls since the COVID-19 struck the country.
Nasima said that 52 laboratories were running coronavirus diagnosis at the moment.
‘Your security is in your hands and never forget to wear a mask,’ said Nasima.
She urged people to follow the government guideline on precautions needed to be followed against COVID-19.
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