Bangladesh reported 134 new deaths from the Covid-19 and 6,214 new cases in the last 24 hours till Saturday 8 am.
With the latest figures, the death toll from the virus in the country reached 14,912 and the case tally to 9,36,256.
So far, Bangladesh reported over 100 single-day deaths from Covid-19 for seven consecutive days, according to data released by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
Experts are warning of a further surge in infection in the next few days. They called on the government to involve people in fighting infections and encourage mask-wearing by distributing free masks.
They urged the authorities to follow Chapainawabganj's example in controlling the infection.
The covid-19 infection rate in Chapainawabganj saw a sudden surge after last Eid. To curb the infection, the local administration issued a seven-day lockdown in the district on 25 May as the positivity rate reached 60%. The lockdown was extended later. During the lockdown, village committees were formed to strengthen awareness campaigns, distribution of masks and speed up testing. Currently, the positivity rate in Chapainawabganj is 15%.
"After the announcement of the lockdown, 500 village committees were formed in Chapainawabganj, urging people to wear masks. If someone went out without a mask or if someone could not afford to buy a mask, they were provided one for free. In addition, the number of tests increased greatly. Those who tested positive were isolated," Dr Abu Jamil Faisal, public health expert and member of the Public Health Advisory Committee of Covid-19, told The Business Standard.
In Chapainawabganj, no force other than the police was on the ground, but the infection was under control, he added.
Following the recent surge in infection, the government has imposed a nationwide lockdown since 1 July. Many are being fined or arrested every day for violating the lockdown.
However, experts believe, people are violating the lockdown and going out without masks because of their lack of awareness. Therefore, following the precedence set by the Chapainawabganj authorities to involve people might be effective now to curb infection.
Dr Faisal said a huge number of masks have to be distributed across the country and tests have to be increased. If someone has Covid-19 symptoms at home, everyone in the family should stay at home wearing masks. The local community will be able to make everyone aware of this.
Meanwhile, the positivity rate on the latest day was recorded at 27.39% and the fatality rate at 1.59%, according to DGHS.
Khulna division registered 39 deaths in the last 24 hours, maintaining the highest number of fatalities over the last eight days. Besides, 38 deaths were reported in the capital followed by the Rajshahi reporting 23 single-day deaths.
Moreover, 15 of the deceased hailed from the Rangpur division, 11 from Chattogram, four from Mymensingh, three from Barishal and one Sylhet division.
Among the latest victims, 84 were men, and 50 were women. Of the victims, 127 died in different hospitals across the country while seven at home.
Experts are warning of a further increase in infection and deaths in the coming weeks, saying those who are now dying from the virus were infected around three weeks ago. Now that the number of infections has surpassed 8,000 a day, the death toll could rise further after three weeks. Infection rates have started rising again in big cities including Dhaka and Chittagong and this trend will continue for some time to come.
Dr Asim Kumar Nath, director of Mugda Medical College Hospital, told TBS, "There is not a single vacant bed in the ICU and HDU of our hospital. The number of patients is increasing every day. Patients are still being admitted to the general bed, but if their number continues to increases, even the general beds will be filled soon."
Professor Sayedur Rahman, chairman, Department of Pharmacology, Bangabandhu Shiekh Mujib Medical University, suggested increasing antigen tests to use the lockdown effectively.
"If you want to use the lockdown effectively, you have to increase the antigen test and distribute crores of masks. Otherwise, people will be infected and spread the infection from home to others in the family", he told TBS.