Bangladesh is now under a fresh COVID lockdown, and the US has sent vaccination

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In Bangladesh, where a strict lockdown begins on Thursday, rising illnesses and overcrowded hospitals are being noticed.

Shahinul Islam prays that his father does not become one of the more than 300 patients at a state-run hospital near Bangladesh’s border with India who have died this month from the coronavirus.

Hundreds of people, including his father, are fighting to breathe in the COVID-19 treatment unit, while Islam waits in a crowded emergency room. Relatives frantically search for oxygen cylinders for their loved ones as they rush in and out.

The 1,200-bed Rajshahi Medical College Hospital, which serves border villages overtaken by the more contagious Delta strain originally discovered in neighboring India, is seeing a new scene: throngs of COVID-19 patients and their concerned relatives.

On Tuesday, more than 450 individuals infected with COVID-19 were hospitalized to the state-run hospital in Rajshahi’s major city.

People in Islam’s home village, which is closer to the border, have ostracized him and his entire family, he claimed.

“The locals are terrified of us. They don’t communicate with us. They take a different route when they see us on the road,” he explained. “We are in a lot of pain.”

In Bangladesh, where a strict lockdown begins on Thursday, rising illnesses and overcrowded hospitals are being noticed.

To impose the one-week lockdown, the government will deploy military personnel, paramilitary border officials, and riot police.

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People throng a ferry port to leave Dhaka ahead of a lockdown due to begin on Thursday [Mahmud Hossain Opu/AP]. A kid is handed over to board a ferry as people swarm a ferry terminal to escape Dhaka ahead of a lockdown slated to begin on Thursday [Mahmud Hossain Opu/AP].

US sends 2.5 million vaccine doses

Meanwhile, a White House source told the AFP news agency that the US began sending 2.5 million doses of Moderna’s COVID vaccine to the South Asian nation of more than 160 million people on Tuesday.

Bangladesh has seen a 55 percent spike in cases week over week, primarily due to the Delta strain, according to the source, explaining how the country ended itself on the urgent list. This week’s delivery is expected to be completed.

Bangladeshi authorities have warned that the fast increase in border areas is hastening the virus’s spread. The hospitals in Khulna and Rajshahi are overburdened.

“This wave of the epidemic in Bangladesh may be disastrous if individuals do not follow health safety regulations and do not stay at home. It spreads quickly and kills a greater number of people,” said ASM Alamgir, chief scientific officer of the government’s Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research in Dhaka.

People in several border regions in northern and southwestern Bangladesh have never been exposed to COVID-19, thus they are immune to the virus. This, along with the high number of people who aren’t vaccinated, renders the population very vulnerable.

A little more than four million people have received their complete immunisation. Another 1.5 million people have gotten one dosage, but they are unsure when they will receive their second dose due to a scarcity of Oxford-AstraZeneca imports blocked by India.

The Rajshahi hospital also lacks the sort of oxygen supply system required for critical patients, despite the fact that it is witnessing an increasing number of patients with dangerously low oxygen levels.

Such patients benefit from high-flow nasal cannulas, but government hospitals in border areas have been forced to rely on portable oxygen cylinders instead.

“They can’t be adequately controlled with only oxygen cylinders,” says the expert. “God forbid, if we can’t give them with a central oxygen line, the casualties may rise,” warned Brigadier General Shamim Yazdani, the hospital’s director.

Since March of last year, the South Asian country has verified over 900,000 cases, with at least 14,300 deaths. According to experts, the true statistics may be higher.

According to the health ministry, daily infections reached an all-time high of 8,364 on Monday, nearly doubling from the previous week. The pandemic’s greatest reported death toll was 119 on Sunday, with another 112 individuals dying on Tuesday.

Experts predict that the situation will deteriorate worse in the following weeks.

The rising number of infections and uncertainty over vaccines have prompted Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s administration to tighten restrictions. On Monday, the restrictions began in stages, and on Thursday, all economic activity would be suspended in a countrywide lockdown.

Thousands of people have tried to escape Dhaka since last weekend, clogging bus and boat ports and disregarding public health precautions such as keeping social distance.

A total shutdown may be the only way to slow down the version, which is the most dangerous yet. “We will be able to prevent a tragedy if we can implement the rigorous closure as planned,” Alamgir added. “Let’s hope for the best,” says the narrator.

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