Bangladesh extends lockdown for a week as virus surge continues


Bangladesh is extending its current nationwide shutdown for seven more days to counter a rise in coronavirus infections, the government said on Monday.

“Considering the current situation of Covid-19 infections, the restrictions imposed earlier will now continue until midnight of July 14,” reads an official notice.

On Sunday, the South Asian country reported a record daily virus caseload of 8,662 and 153 deaths, leaving health facilities struggling to cope.

Under the lockdown, offices, shopping malls and transport services have been shut since Thursday. Army troops have been deployed to restrict movement.
Police have arrested more than 2,100 people in Dhaka alone for allegedly flouting the lockdown rules.

Previous restrictions were only imposed loosely. The arrival of the Delta variant worsened the situation last month.

Bangladesh, a country of more than 160 million, has registered some 944,917 Covid-19 cases and 15,065 deaths. More than 6.7 million coronavirus tests have been carried out so far.

Community infections have worsened the situation in the rural areas in particular, according to a health official.

“Nearly half of the Covid-19 patients now undergoing treatment at hospitals are from the rural areas,” said Abul Bashar Mohammad Khurshid Alam, head of the country’s health service.

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