Bangladesh's virus caseload tops 350,000, deaths approach 5,000

Inter-city train Kishoreganj Express is ready to depart for Kishoreganj from Dhaka’s Kamalapur Railway Station at full capacity amid the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, Sept 16, 2020. The railway ministry has decided to allow train services to operate on almost all routes, barring a few local ones, at full passenger capacity and sell tickets at station counters in adherence to health and safety protocols. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove
Bangladesh's coronavirus caseload has surpassed 350,000, hitting another grim milestone in the pandemic.

The tally of infections surged to 350,621 as it added 1,705 new cases in the 24 hours to 8 am Monday, according to data released by the government.

Another 40 deaths were registered in the same period, the health directorate said, taking the body count to 4,979.

The number of daily recoveries outpaced fresh cases during that time, with 2,152 patients overcoming the disease through treatment at home and in hospital care. It brings the recovery count to 258,717.

A total of 13,053 samples were tested at 99 authorised labs across the country in the last 24 hours, with a positivity rate of 13.06 percent.

Globally, over 31.04 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus and 960,826 have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

Bangladesh currently has the 15th-highest caseload in the world, behind the United Kingdom and Iran, according to the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The South Asian nation reported its first cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, on Mar 8. It took 87 days for the disease to infect 50,000 people but the tally doubled to 100,000 on Jun 18 in the space of just 16 days.

In a bid to contain the rampant spread of the disease, the government enforced a nationwide lockdown for more than two months before lifting the restrictions on May 31.

Since then, the epidemic has continued to rampage through the country at an alarming rate.

The tally of cases surged past 100,000 on Jun 18 and doubled over the next 30 days to reach 200,000 on Jul 18.

The caseload rose by 50,000 over the next 20 days and it took another 19 days since to reach the 300,000-mark on Aug 26. Another 50,000 new infections were since added to the tally over the next 26 days.

Meanwhile, neighbouring India became the second country in the world, after the United States, to record more than 5 million cases last week.

The world's second-most populous country has been reporting more new daily cases than the United States since mid-August and accounts for just over 16% of global known cases, according to Reuters.