Bangladesh reported 96 deaths during a 24-hour period until Wednesday morning, shattering all of its previous single-day death counts.
The latest fatalities pushed up the local tally to 9,987 since the first death was reported on March 18 last year, a handout from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said. The mortality rate stood at 1.42 percent.
However, the number of daily cases fell to 5,185 from Tuesday’s 6,028. Bangladesh reported its first coronavirus cases on March 8. Since then, 703,170 cases have been confirmed.
The country has conducted 5,095,613 covid tests, including 24,825 new ones, since the beginning of the outbreak.
The daily infection rate stood at 20.89 percent.
So far, the health authorities reported 591,299 recoveries (84.09 percent), including 5,333 in the last 24 hours.
Daily cases fall, body count rises
Bangladesh saw a spike in the number of daily cases in recent days that was followed by record single-day death counts.
On Wednesday, the country registered its highest number of deaths from the virus for the fourth time in five days. The figure was 69 on Tuesday, 83 on Monday, 78 on Sunday and 77 on Saturday.
Coronavirus claimed 568 lives in January this year, 281 in February and 638 in March.
The steady rise in new cases put severe pressure on the health system which is struggling to accommodate so many patients.
Of the 96 deaths reported, 94 had died at hospitals and two at home.
Hospitals treating Covid-19 patients in Dhaka and elsewhere are running out of general and ICU beds.
Hospitals in Dhaka metropolitan area have 4,286 general beds and 59 ICU beds. Of them, only 526 general and 12 ICU beds are available, according to DGHS data.
Overall, there are 10,614 general beds for treating coronavirus patients in the country and more than half of them (5,688) are occupied.
There are 792 ICU beds in total but only 137 are available at the moment.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, in her new year address, said the ICU facilities are being increased and the areas of coronavirus patient treatment are being expanded.
She said steps have been taken for uninterrupted oxygen supply in public specialised hospitals.
Emphasis on health guidelines
People’s apathy towards health rules has been blamed as one of the main reasons for the sudden rise in coronavirus cases. The infection rate had fallen below 5 percent earlier this year.
Repeated requests of the health experts and the government fell on deaf ears. The people carried on as usual, hardly sticking to basic health rules as they continued to throng shopping malls, places of entertainment and other public gatherings.
Sheikh Hasina urged everyone to be careful and ensure protection for themselves, their family members and neighbours.
“Gatherings have to be avoided and everyone should wear a mask when going outside,” she said. “If everyone follows health guidelines, it’ll be possible to keep the pandemic under control, Inshallah.”