Covid-19 claims over 1,000 lives in week amid lockdown in Bangladesh

Dhaka, July 8 (EFE)- More than 1,000 people died of Covid-19 in the first week of July despite a nationwide lockdown, authorities said on Thursday, as Bangladesh battled to curb a fresh wave of infections.

Health services data showed that since July 1, 1,090 Covid-19 patients have died in the country.

The figure includes 201 fatalities on Wednesday, a record of daily death since the pandemic began in the country in March 2020.

“We are seeing more deaths now because the number of cases got increased in recent days. Many of these people have been infected by Delta variant of the virus, which is more virulent,” Nazrul Islam, a virologist, told EFE.

Islam, a member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, said many cases were from rural areas with inadequate health facilties.

“People are dying in villages as they do not get good treatment. We still do not have ICU facilities in 35 of our 64 districts and there is also lack of Oxygen supply. Lockdown measures also became ineffective in the rural areas,” he said.

Hossain Shafyet, health chief of southern Satkhira district, said illegal movement from the border with India could be a reason for the fresh spike in cases and deaths.

“Our law enforcing agencies had enhanced their vigilance after the recent surge in cases in India. But it is a large border, tough to manage. Illegal trafficking in border areas created some problems,” he said.

Shafyet said increased public movement after the Muslim festival of Eid-ul-Fitr in May also contributed to the spike in rural areas.

“There is lack of awareness among people. Hardly anyone cared about wearing mask in villages,” said Shafyet, adding that ten people died with Covid-19 symptoms in his district in the past 24 hours.

“We have 276 Covid-19 patients now admitted to public hospitals in our districts and 148 in private hospitals,” he said.

Satkhira is close to divisional headquarters Khulna, the worst affected area with the highest 66 out of Wednesday’s record 201 deaths from the division.

Bangladesh authorities on June 28 imposed a nationwide lockdown and deployed the army and paramilitary forces on July 1 to check public movement.

Overall, Bangladesh has recorded nearly one million cases of Covid-19 and over 15,000 deaths so far.

The country has so far vaccinated over 10 million people.

Abdur Rahim, an health services official, told EFE that people were given Sinopharm and Pfizer jabs.

AstraZeneca vaccines were offered at a limited number of facilities depending on the availability of doses.

The country also received over 2.5 million doses of Moderna vaccines from the United States under the WHO-run Covax facility in early July.

Rahim said the authorities would soon start giving Moderna vaccines.

The health authorities relaxed the age bar for receiving vaccines from Thursday, making people over 35 years eligible to get them. EFE

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