DHAKA: Bangladesh’s 168 million people on Thursday (Jul 1) began a strict coronavirus lockdown while Indonesia announced emergency curbs as infections surged across parts of the Asia-Pacific.A European Union-wide coronavirus travel certificate was also set to come into force on Thursday, but concerns persisted about a resurgence of the disease as the World Health Organization said cases in the continent were up after 10 weeks of decline.
Many outbreaks have been blamed on the more infectious Delta variant of the virus, which has pushed COVID-19 deaths in Russia to record levels and sparked an “alarming and dangerous” case surge in Bangladesh.
The streets of the South Asian nation were empty Thursday, patrolled by the army and the police, with people confined to their homes except for emergencies and to buy essentials.”A lot of people are dying and getting infected,” Touhidul Islam Chowdhury, who owns a small loan recovery firm, told AFP. “The army should have deployed much earlier.”
Many hospitals in Bangladesh are struggling, particularly in areas bordering India where the strain was first detected. Some rural towns have recorded infection rates of 70 per cent.
The healthcare system in Indonesia was also overwhelmed by a huge coronavirus wave, which has forced the government to tighten restrictions from Saturday until Jul 20. The curbs, lasting more than two weeks, cover the capital Jakarta, hard-hit Java and the holiday island Bali, as infections rose to record levels in the vast Southeast Asian nation with authorities warning about the spread of different coronavirus variants.
The new variants – such as Delta, the most contagious to date – have fuelled outbreaks around the world even as mass vaccination programmes are launched in many countries.More than 180 million infections and close to four million COVID-19 deaths have been recorded since the pandemic began.
Source – CNA