Coronavirus infection has been spreading rapidly across the country, which may increase the fatality during the fourth wave of the infection.
Health experts said maintaining health guidelines including wearing face masks and getting vaccinated against coronavirus can protect people from serious health complications caused by the virus.
The DGHS official said as per the experience of previous waves of the coronavirus infection, the current surge of the corona cases may continue for at least two to three weeks.
According to experts, BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron coronavirus have been found, in addition to earlier omicron variants such as BA.1, BA.2, BA.3 and BA.1.1.
BA.4 and BA.5 don’t appear to be more contagious or deadly than the original omicron mutation so far. Another sub-variant, XE, has been found, which is a combination of the original omicron BA.1 strain and the BA.2, they added.
Study says the Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5 appear to escape antibody responses among both people who had previous corona infection and those who have been fully vaccinated and boosted.
According to the DGHS data, as of 27 June 2022, the number of corona tests (June 20-June 26) stood at 66,758, a 53.4 per cent increase from the previous week; the weekly average test positivity rate increased by 299.9per cent from the previous week. The fatality rate increased by 900 per cent during that time.
Asked about the rapid transmission of the coronavirus infection in the country, Prof Dr Tahmina Shirin, director of IEDCR blamed people’s negligence in maintaining health guidelines. “You must wear the mask. Now wearing the mask is the main way to stop increasing the infection cases in the country.”
A report said the BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron was dominant in the country in May. “All samples were Omicron variant. 91 per cent of them were Omicron BA.2 variants and 9 per cent were the Omicron BA.5 variant,” said a report titled ‘SARS-CoV-2 Variants in Bangladesh Technical Briefing Report.
The surveillance also found that 496 SARS-CoV-2 strains were Omicron variants (identified between December 2021 and May 2022), 1 Beta (identified in July 2021) and the remaining 1083 were Delta.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), 5 variants of concern (VOC) and 2 variants under monitoring (VUM) have been reported globally.
The Omicron variant is the latest addition which has been designated as VOC in late November 2021 because of its transmissibility, immune system evasion, and vaccine resistance.
“We have already entered into a fourth wave of the coronavirus infection,” Prof Dr Ahmedul Kabir, additional director general (admin) of DGHS, told the Daily Sun.
He warned if people remain reluctant to maintain health guidelines, the virus will spread rapidly further.
According to WHO, if the daily infection rate remains below five per cent for two consecutive weeks, it can be considered that the country’s coronavirus situation is under control.
Prof Dr Nazrul Islam, a member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, emphasised the need for maintaining the guidelines and getting vaccinated to fight the disease.
“Now the authorities should carry out a study to find out the reason behind this sudden increase in the corona infections. And step should be taken accordingly,” the noted virologist said.
The country’s coronavirus situation has been deteriorating in the country day by day as the number of daily infection cases and death has been increasing for around two weeks.
The DGHS said 2,087 new corona infection cases have been reported and three more Covid-19 patients died in the last 24 hours till Tuesday morning. The daily infection rate has been reported at 15.20 percent.
The number of daily infection cases has crossed one thousand for the last six consecutive days as 2,101 cases were reported on Monday, 1,680 on Sunday, 1,280 on Saturday and 1685 on Friday.
So far, 29,145 coronavirus-infected patients have died and 1,969,361 cases were detected.
Speaking at a programme in the capital on Tuesday, health and family welfare minister Zahid Maleque said the government is going to start inoculating children aged 5-12 with the coronavirus vaccine soon.