Bangladesh extends lockdown as Covid cases hit new record
People queue up for discounted food staples run by a government project during a countrywide lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19 on July 5, 2021 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Photo by Allison Joyce/Getty Images)
BANGLADESH on Monday (5) extended its nationwide lockdown for another week as coronavirus cases and deaths hit new records.
Authorities said 164 people died in the previous 24 hours, while almost 1,000 tested positive – the most infections in a single day since the first coronavirus case was detected in March last year.
Nazrul Islam, a virologist and member of the national technical committee that asked the government to extend the lockdown, said the situation is “extremely bad”.
“The delta variant is responsible for 70 per cent of the infections… And we still have not seen the peak yet,” he said.
Bangladesh has so far reported nearly 950,000 infections and more than 15,000 deaths.
Under the lockdown imposed at the start of the month, and now extended until July 14, Bangladesh’s 168 million people can leave home only for emergencies and essentials.
The army and police are patrolling the streets, there is no public transport and shops and offices are shut. Food markets can open for a few hours a day.
Garment factories, a key pillar of Bangladesh’s export-oriented economy, are exempt from the shutdown.
In Dhaka, home to some 20 million people, authorities have arrested more than 2,000 people for breaching lockdown rules.
The health department said a half of the infections are occurring outside cities, with districts bordering the worst hit.
“The situation is worsening every day. The lockdown seems to be working. We hope the extension of the lockdown will improve the situation,” a spokesman of the health department said.