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Bangladesh surge in COVID cases sought for urgent vaccine supplies

2021 Jul 06, 13:17, DHAKA
A health worker administers the COVISHIELD vaccine for COVID-19 at a residential area in Ahmedabad, India, Sunday, April 4, 2021. Photo: AP

Urgent actions were needed to increase COVID-19 vaccine supplies for Bangladesh as hospitals reached capacity and oxygen supplies ran short with a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases, a global humanitarian organization said Tuesday.

According to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the deadly Delta COVID-19 variant was spreading fast in urban and rural areas across Bangladesh, stretching the entire health sector beyond its limits.

It said hospitals in areas of Bangladesh bordering India were experiencing a sharp rise in infections and deaths.

In the capital Dhaka, around 78 percent of infections had been identified as caused by the Delta strain, the government said.

Around 3 percent of the Bangladesh population has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 compared with half the population of countries such as Britain and the United States, according to Oxford University's Our World in Data, it said.

Feroz Salah Uddin, secretary general of the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, said the recent spike of COVID-19 infections in Bangladesh was deeply alarming and it was being fuelled by the more infectious and deadly Delta strain, with hundreds of people dying a week.

"Bangladesh Red Crescent has ramped up ambulance services and efforts to help reduce death and suffering due to this dangerous virus. Our volunteers are working alongside health authorities to accelerate vaccinations, but a crippling shortage in supply is hurting progress," he said.

He said Bangladesh Red Crescent teams were helping people with free ambulance services 24 hours a day, in 10 high-risk districts and providing oxygen cylinders across the country.

Apart from this, Uddin said cooked food and other relief were also being provided to people who have lost their jobs or income.

Sanjeev Kafely, head of IFRC Bangladesh Delegation, said it was critical that richer countries shared more vaccines with Bangladesh in the coming days and weeks.

"COVID-19 is having devastating impacts on millions of people in Bangladesh, with many losing their incomes and livelihoods," said Kafely, "Mass vaccination is the key to ending the spiralling deaths, infections and hardships caused by this virus in Bangladesh and everywhere around the world."

Bangladesh reported its highest spike of 9,964 new COVID-19 cases and 164 more deaths on Monday, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). 

covid-19 COVID-19 vaccine delta Bangladesh Dhaka infections
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