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DGHS wants coronavirus lockdown extended across Bangladesh

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2021-07-30 23:23:13 BdST

A police check-post has been set up outside Dhaka’s Tejgaon Airport amid the coronavirus lockdown, causing a tailback of vehicles. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

The Directorate General of Health Services has advised the authorities to extend the ongoing restrictions as the number of deadly coronavirus cases has continued to rise amid the ongoing lockdown.

“The public administration ministry will decide whether to extend the lockdown. We’ve told them to continue the lockdown,” DGHS Director General Professor Dr ABM Khurshid Alam said on Friday.

“We always want to curb it (public movement) out of concern. Emergency services should continue, but under strict monitoring. There's no doubt infections will rise if everything reopens.”

The government, however, eased the restrictions for export-oriented factories who can resume production on Aug 1. The lockdown, reimposed on Jul 23 after a nine-day break for Eid-ul-Azha, will continue until Aug 5.

“The directorate requested for setting the next course of action by keeping everything closed at least until Aug 5,” said Khurshid.

“The workers will return to work from villages if the factories reopen. Infection rate is high in the villages too. Infections will spread if they come. No hospital seat is vacant in Dhaka now. So, there will be a crisis, and you (media) will say the directorate has done nothing.” 

With the dominance of the highly infectious Delta variant, Bangladesh is experiencing the worst phase of the pandemic.

After deadly cases began to increase following a relatively better situation, the government imposed the strict lockdown on Jul 1, allowing the factories to remain open.

The restrictions, however, were lifted altogether for the Eid despite expert advice to keep the cattle markets, shopping malls and the public transportation system closed along with offices.           

Although the factories were closed in the post-Eid lockdown, the number of deaths from COVID-19 and infections rose at a record pace.

Bangladesh registered 212 new deaths from the COVID-19 illness in the 24 hours to Friday morning, taking the toll to 20,467.

The caseload climbed to 1,240,115 after 13,862 people tested positive for the disease, according to the latest government data.

Dhaka registered the most daily deaths among the eight divisions, logging 65 fatalities, followed by Chattogram with 53 and Khulna with 36.

In terms of daily cases, Dhaka division tallied 5,059 infections, followed by Chattogram with 4,021 and Rangpur with 954.