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Sheikh Hasina calls for all-out effort to fight new virus wave

Sheikh Hasina calls for all-out effort to fight new virus wave

Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 1 March: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for assistance from everyone in ‘managing’ the second wave of coronavirus infection just the way the first wave was battled out.

Hasina urged citizens to wear masks and follow the health protocols properly while avoiding any gathering. “We must follow the health rules. I have noticed that the people who attended big wedding parties came back with the disease,” said the prime minister during a condolence motion in parliament on Thursday.

“People have visited crowded tourist places, such as Cox’s Bazar, and most of them got infected. People were partying, shopping and going out too many times.”

Hasina highlighted that a new wave of the coronavirus is spreading across the world.

“We had controlled it when the coronavirus had hit Bangladesh for the first time. We must do the same now,” Hasina said.

“We’ve given some directives and are trying to curb it gradually. But we need assistance from everyone. We have lost so many people. A little awareness of the coronavirus could have prevented the loss.”

Everything came to a standstill after the government imposed a nationwide lockdown for two months when Bangladesh reported its first coronavirus cases in March 2020. The restrictions were gradually relaxed with the number of cases falling gradually.

In mid-February, the daily count of cases dipped, yielding the positivity rate below 3 percent, while it reversed the trend at the the end of February. Bangladesh on Thursday logged 6,469 new cases of the coronavirus, the highest daily count, taking the tally of infections to 617,764. The death toll climbed by 59 in 24 hours to 9,105, according to data released by the government.

Under the circumstances, the government issued an 18-point directive, reimposing curbs on assembly and shutting down tourism centres. Public transports have been ordered to carry passengers to half of their capacity and the offices to run with 50 percent of their workforce.

The prime minister, however, reminded everyone that wearing a mask is the most important task to do. “I would request everyone to wear a mask.”

India began vaccinating tens of thousands of people above the age of 45 on Thursday in its biggest push yet against a surging coronavirus that has hit the highest daily count since early October, officials said.

The world’s second most populous country aims to immunise 400 million people after expanding the programme, which had been restricted to the over-60s and people with serious health conditions, said a government official.

President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday ordered France into its third national lockdown and said schools would close for three weeks as he sought to push back a third wave of infections that threatens to overwhelm hospitals.

With the death toll nearing 100,000, intensive care units in the hardest-hit regions at breaking point and a slower-than-planned vaccine rollout, Macron was forced to abandon his goal of keeping the country open to protect the economy.

Poles rushed to sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations on Thursday after the government unexpectedly opened registrations for people aged over 40 overnight, in a sudden shift that led to so many applications that an online system crashed.

Over 2 million Poles have so far received both shots of a vaccine, but the prime minister’s top aide, who has been put in charge of the vaccination programme, said slower rates of registration among older Poles meant the government had decided to widen access.

The nation of 38 million people is in the grip of a damaging third wave of the pandemic, which has pushed its health service to its limits.

Japan’s government said on Thursday it would impose emergency measures, such as shorter business hours and asking people to work from home and refrain from activities like karaoke, in the western region of Osaka to halt a rebound in COVID-19 cases.

Osaka governor Hirofumi Yoshimura said Olympic torch events in the prefecture’s main city should be cancelled, a day after he raised the alarm about an emerging fourth wave of infections.

Australia ended a lockdown of its third-biggest city Brisbane on Thursday, just in time for Easter holidays, as only one new locally transmitted case in Queensland state eased fears of a widespread outbreak.

Video and photos on social media showed people wearing masks checking in at cafes and restaurants for lunch or having beer at bars as Brisbane emerged from its three-day snap lockdown at noon local time.

Residents are, however, still required to wear masks in public and some social distancing restrictions will remain in place.

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