As Muslims throughout the country are is celebrating holy Eid-ul-Adha on Wednesday, Bangladesh on the day witnessed a fall in both Covid related deaths and cases with fewer samples tested.
In a 24-hour period, health authorities reported 173 new deaths and 7,614 new cases till 8:00 am on the day after testing 24,979 samples in 639 laboratories across the country.
With these latest figures, the total fatalities in the country now stand at 18,498 and the total cases at 11,36,503, according to the Directorate General of Health Services.
The case positivity increased slightly to 30.48 per cent from Tuesday's 29.31 per cent, DGHS said.
Meanwhile, 9,704 patients have recovered from the deadly infection in the last 24-hours with an 84.56 per cent recovery rate.
The overall infection rate is gradually increasing and currently stands at 15.43 per cent.
Among the latest fatalities, Dhaka division saw the highest 58 deaths, followed by 38 in Khulna, 32 in Chattogram, 16 in Rangpur, and 11 in Rajshahi.
Besides, eight died in Barishal division, six in Sylhet and four in Mymensingh.
Bangladesh reported its first cases on March 8 last year and the first coronavirus-related death on March 18 the same year.
Eid-ul-Azha amid Covid surge
Bangladesh on Wednesday is celebrating its second-largest religious festival, Eid-ul-Azha, in the shadow of Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the government has taken various safety measures to make sure that the celebration does not help the pandemic worsen further.
The health guidelines issued by the Religious Affairs Ministry for offering Eid-ul-Azha prayers were largely maintained both in the capital and elsewhere across the country.
Law enforcement agencies, including police and Rapid Action Battalion, took tight security measures to maintain government rules and law and order.
Before Eid, thousands of holidaymakers were seen travelling to their village homes overlooking health risks posed by the highly infectious Delta variant of coronavirus.
Huge crowds were seen at bus and ferry terminals where people gathered to leave the city to celebrate the Eid-ul-Azha with their loved ones. Government-issued health guidelines were largely flouted at these places.
Strict movement restrictions
In light of the deteriorating situation, the government announced weeklong strict restrictions that came into effect on July 1. Later, the lockdown was extended until July 14.
On July 13, the government decided to relax lockdown restrictions from July 15 to July 22 considering Eid-ul-Azha. However, strict lockdown restrictions will resume for another two weeks from July 23.
During the period, public transportation and long-haul buses were allowed to resume on a limited scale and shopping malls were allowed to reopen.
Meanwhile, on July 17, State Minister of Public Administration Farhad Hossain said the lockdown restrictions after Eid-ul-Azha is going to be the “strictest” ever imposed in Bangladesh.
"Industries will remain closed during the lockdown after Eid and restrictions will be tightened from July 23 to August 5,” he said.
On July 20, the Cabinet Division issued a gazette notification announcing that all factories, other than food production; pharmaceuticals and tanneries, will be banned from operating during the fresh lockdown starting from July 23 to August 5 to stem the Covid-19 pandemic.