The committee held an online meeting on Monday, presided over by its chairman Mohammad Shahidullah, said the notice. Six recommendations were made at the meeting. These included that the livestock markets for sacrificial animals should be closed down and replaced by online markets.

If there is need to keep a limited number of markets open, strict health guidelines must be followed. The cost of Covid sample testing in the private sector should be decreased to Tk 1000 or Tk 1500. The age bracket for vaccines should be lowered to 18 years. Field hospitals should be opened up. Local representatives must be active in order to implement the government programmes related to the pandemic.

The Directorate General Health Services (DGHS) is also apprehending a rise in the spread of the virus. In the online health bulletin on Wednesday, the DGHS spokespersons Robed Amin said transmissions are extremely high in Chattogram and Barisal. Extreme caution must be exercised in the coming days. He also said that there was fear in an increase in transmissions when the restrictions were lifted.

Deaths highest in Dhaka and Khulna

The first coronavirus case was detected in the country on 8 March last year. The infections were highest in Dhaka and Chattogram at the outset. Then from June this year, with the emergence of the delta variant (originating in India), the virus began spreading rapidly in the border lying areas. The situation deteriorated in Rajshahi and Khulna. Things have improved somewhat in Rajshahi, but not in Khulna.

In the meantime, there has been an increase in deaths in Dhaka. Over the past week, from 8 to 14 July, the number of deaths was highest in the capital city, hitting a 438 peak. An analysis of the first two weeks of this month reveals that there has been a 50 per cent rise in the deaths over these two weeks in the capital city. In the 24 hours ending 8:00am Wednesday, the number of deaths was 210. Of them, 69 of the deaths were in Dhaka division. District-wise, the highest deaths were in Dhaka district, at 31 (including in the capital city).

Then again, persons concerned say that a portion of the patients dying in Dhaka city had come in from other districts to avail better treatment in the capital city.

There can be no events at tourist spots, resorts, community centres or amusement spots during the relaxation of restrictions. There can be no public gatherings for social, political and religious events

After Dhaka, the highest number of deaths last week, at 405, was in Khulna division. The rate of increase in Khulna was relatively less than the preceding week, at 20 per cent. In the death count last week, Chattogram division came up third. In this division 228 persons had died. It had the highest increase rate at 78 per cent.

Deaths are on the rise in Rangpur. Over the past week 101 persons died of coronavirus in this division. The rate of increase in deaths was high in Mymensingh and Sylhet divisions last week, at over 45 per cent.

Infection increases in three divisions

The transmission of coronavirus is on an increase in almost all divisions of the country. Over the past 9 days, over 10,000 new cases are being detected daily. The rate of detection had surpassed 31 per cent, though over the past 2 days this came down below 30 per cent.

Division-wise, the spread of the virus is fastest in Barishal, Sylhet and Chattogram. Over the past three days in Barishal division, the rate of detection against tests was over 40 per cent. It was near around 40 per cent in Sylhet. In Chattogram division it crossed 34 per cent. The situation in Khulna has hardly improved. Over the past three days there, the detection rate has remained at around 30 per cent. In Dhaka it is near around 30 per cent too.

A review of infections in the first two weeks of this month in Chattogram shows that, as compared to the first week (1-7 July), the increase of patients was highest during the second week (8-14 July).

In a matter of a week there was a 72 per cent increase in coronavirus cases. Over the past 24 hours in Chattogram, 1003 persons were detected with coronavirus. This is the first time that the number of coronavirus cases in one day exceeded 1000 in Chattogram.

In Chattogram division, over the past three days the rate of detection has been between 30 to 50 per cent in Chattogram, Feni, Chandpur, Cumilla, Brahmanbaria, Noakhali, Khagrachhari and Bandarban. In Barishal, this rate has been over 30 per cent in all districts of the division.

Deaths with coronavirus symptoms have been higher than those of actually detected cases in Barishal division. From the outset of the pandemic till date, the number of deaths among detected cases in Barishal has been 365. In Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital alone, 634 patients died with coronavirus symptoms.

'Fear of increase in infections after Eid’

In a circular of the DGHS on Wednesday, it was said that over the past 24 hours, 12,383 new coronavirus cases had been detected in the country. And the number of deaths was 210. Till yesterday, a total of 1,059,583 cases had been detected in the country. Of them, 897,412 had recovered and 17,052 had died.

Adviser of the government’s Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Mushtuq Husain, told Prothom Alo the spread of coronavirus was still at a dangerous level. With the restrictions being relaxed, public movement and gatherings will increase all over the country. As a result, there is fear of cases rising again a week after Eid.

No social events

In a press note issued on Wednesday, the government said that there can be no events at tourist spots, resorts, community centres or amusement spots during the relaxation of restrictions. There can be no public gatherings for social, political and religious events.

* This report appeared in the print and online edition of Prothom Alo and has been rewritten for the English edition by Ayesha Kabir

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