High level meeting on pandemic control today27 July 2021
The government is set to hold a meeting to come up with measures to stem the tide of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Bangladesh as the pandemic continues to worsen despite the imposition of the 'strictest' lockdown yet.
The home minister will chair the 'important' meeting on Tuesday, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam told reporters on Monday.
The announcement came on a day when single-day COVID-19 cases and deaths soared to record peaks.
Bangladesh tallied 15,192 infections and 247 in the past 24 hours, according to the latest government data.
While the prevalence of the Delta variant, first found across the border in India, triggered an upturn in infections and fatalities in recent months, the situation has dramatically worsened since the start of July.
Bangladesh went into lockdown on Jul 1 but the government lifted the restrictions for a period of nine days in light of the Eid-ul-Azha holidays. But experts fear that an even worse crisis may play out in August.
The ongoing lockdown restrictions are set to be enforced until Aug 5. Although public health experts have come out in favour of lockdowns, the government has had to weigh the impact it could have on people's livelihoods.
On whether the current lockdown will be extended further, the cabinet secretary said a decision will be taken at Tuesday's meeting. Although Anwarul described it as a 'big' meeting, he did not shed any light on the attendees.
State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain said there was no alternative to stricter regulations to contain the rampant spread of the virus.
Cabinet Secretary Anwarul emphasised personal health awareness to handle the situation.
"The coronavirus cannot be controlled just by increasing the number of hospital beds and doctors. You can look at the countries in Europe like Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Germany. Germany was in a helpless state. Look at what happened in India."
"If people don't wear masks or comply with (social) distancing rules, it will be almost impossible (to contain the pandemic)."