Extension In Strict Lockdown In Bangladesh As Coronavirus Cases Surge
Bangladesh extended a strict nationwide lockdown on Monday, restricting people to their homes for one more week as coronavirus cases, as well as deaths, hit new records.
According to the authorities, a record 164 people had died in the last 24 hours, whereas nearly 1,000 tested positive, the highest single day-infections since March last year when the first case was detected.
Nazrul Islam, one of the top virologists and member of a high-powered national technical committee who advised the government for the lockdown extension, stated the situation is "extremely bad".
"The Delta variant is to be blamed for 70 percent of the infections as this variant is highly transmissible. but we have not seen the peak yet," he told.
Till now, Bangladesh has reported almost 950,000 infections and over 15,000 deaths, which as per the figures experts are expected to be three to four times less than the actual number of cases and fatalities.
Under the imposed lockdown imposed since the start of the month, and now extended till July 14, Bangladesh's 168 million people can only leave home in case of emergencies and to buy essentials.
The army, as well as police, are watching the streets, the offices and shops are shut and there is no public transport. Only food markets can open for a few hours a day.
In Dhaka, home to around 20 million people, more than 2,000 people have been arrested for breaking lockdown rules.
However, Garment factories, the main pillar of Bangladesh's export-oriented economy, are not part of the shutdown.
According to the health department, around 50 percent of infections are taking place outside the cities, with districts bordering worst-hit India, where the Delta variant first originated.
"The situation is getting worse day by day. The lockdown seems to be working. Hopefully, the lockdown’s extension will improve the situation," a spokesman of the health department stated.