Delta surge pushes Bangladesh virus deaths to new peak

Delta surge pushes Bangladesh virus deaths to new peak

264 more COVID-19 patients die in country facing sweeping wave of highly infectious virus mutation, official data shows

By Md. Kamruzzaman

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) – Coronavirus fatalities hit another grim peak in Bangladesh on Tuesday as the country struggles to contain a deadly COVID-19 spike driven by the highly infectious Delta variant.

The virus claimed 264 more lives, the highest daily figure in Bangladesh to date, pushing the death toll to 23,161, according to latest official data.

The country’s caseload swelled by 11,164 to move closer to 1.4 million, including more than 1.2 million recoveries.

As part of efforts to curb the virus’ spread, Bangladesh has been under a nationwide lockdown since July 1 and is trying to expand its vaccination campaign.

A six-day special immunization drive targeting people in remote areas of the country was launched last week.

However, the country of nearly 165 million has managed to fully vaccinate just about 4.7 million people so far, while some 14.5 million people have been given a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The immunization campaign suffered a setback on Tuesday as the Health Ministry announced that first doses of the Moderna jab will be halted from Friday due to diminished stocks.

Bangladesh received 5.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine from the US last month.

Authorities will begin administering second doses of the jab starting Thursday, the Health Ministry said.

- China vaccine boost

Dhaka’s drive to vaccinate citizens could be bolstered by a plan with Beijing to start production of jabs in Bangladesh.

The deputy chief of mission at the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka said on Tuesday that joint production in Bangladesh will start “soon.”

“We’ll be soon coming for vaccine co-producing,” Haulong Yan said on social media, without giving any specific date.

Abul Bashar Mohammed Khurshid Alam, head of Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Health Services, also had no timeline for the project.

“Not yet fixed. Hoping it will happen soon,” he said in a written reply to a query by Anadolu Agency.

* Najmus Sakib from Dhaka contributed to this story.

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