Bangladesh COVID positivity rate surges past 15% again

  • News Desk, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2021-06-17 04:03:53 BdST

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A view of tubes of samples collected from suspected COVID-19 patients at Dhaka’s Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital as the number of people lining up for tests is rising along with infection. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove

After the positivity rate in daily counts dropped to 6 percent in mid-May following a nationwide lockdown, many hoped the second wave of COVID-19 is behind Bangladesh.

But the rate has surged past 15 percent again amid community transmission of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus.

In the 24-hour data published on Wednesday, the government confirmed 3,956 cases, the highest in eight weeks, after testing 23,807 samples in 513 labs across the country.  

It means the positivity rate was 16.62 percent.

In the past three days, the rate has been more than an average 13.41 percent in the 15 months after the outbreak began in the country.

Dhaka reported 1,579 new cases during that time, the most among the eight divisions in the tally, followed by Khulna with 818 and Rajshahi with 813.

But Khulna’s positivity rate has been 40 percent for a few days, while 20 percent in Rajshahi as the border districts have emerged as new COVID hotspots.

Bangladesh registered 60 new fatalities from the coronavirus in the daily count on Wednesday, the highest daily count since May 4, raising the toll to 13,282.

The tally of infections surged to 837,247.

Experts believe many cases and deaths are not recorded due to a lack of tests.

With a 160 million-strong population, Bangladesh conducted around 6.25 million tests since the first cases were detected in March last year, whereas capital Dhaka houses more than 20 million people. 

The daily positivity rate has been over 20 percent for months during the first wave, reaching record 33.04 percent on Jul 12.

In January and February this year, the rate dropped below 5 percent before the second wave when the Beta variant, first detected in South Africa, became dominant.

After the Delta variant, first detected in India, was also found in the border districts in May, the authorities locked down parts of Rajshahi and Khulna.

On Wednesday, the government extended the nationwide restrictions by a month in the wake of the spike in cases and deaths.