DHAKA, Bangladesh

Fears of a new COVID-19 wave are gaining ground in Bangladesh as infections surged to a nearly three-month high on Sunday.

A total of 1,159 new cases, the highest daily tally since Dec. 30, raised the country’s overall count to 557,395, while the death toll increased by 18 to hit 8,545, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

The infection rate in Bangladesh continues to steadily increase and now stands at 7.12%, the authority said.

Most of the cases detected over recent days have been among youngsters, and many of them have had to be admitted to intensive care units (ICUs), according to Dr. Abul Bashar Mohammed Khurshid Alam, head of the DGHS.

He said infections have spiked in the country because the public has stopped complying with safety measures.

“The situation will only get worse if people do not properly follow health guidelines,” the official said at an event in the capital Dhaka.

Bangladesh’s COVID-19 situation seemed under control just last month, with daily cases down to around 300 and the positivity rate between 2% to 3%.

The surge in infections has also led to a rapid rise in the number of critically ill patients. According to latest data, 173 out of 281 ICUs in the capital were occupied this week.

There is also uncertainty now regarding the reopening of schools in Bangladesh, which was set for March 30.

The education minister said on Friday that the plan may be pushed ahead because of the spike in virus cases.

Bangladesh launched a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination drive on Feb. 7, aiming to inoculate 130 million people for free.

Over 4.2 million people have been given the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in the country so far, according to the Health and Family Welfare Ministry.​​​​​​​

Copyright 2022 Anadolu Agency. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.