DHAKA, Bangladesh

The number of coronavirus cases in Bangladesh is now close to 235,000, while the death toll is almost at 3,100, health officials said on Thursday.

A total of 2,695 more COVID-19 cases were recorded over the past 24 hours, raising the overall count to 234,889, Health Ministry official Nasima Sultana said at a daily briefing.

The positive cases were among 12,937 samples tested across the country, meaning the current infection rate stands at 20.83%, she said.

The death toll in the South Asian country increased by 48 to reach 3,083, with the mortality rate now at 1.31%.

At least 2,668 more recoveries over the past day took the total to 132,960, raising the recovery rate to 56.61%, according to the official.

Concerns over Eid spike

Health Minister Zahid Maleque led calls for caution in Bangladesh ahead of the holidays for the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.

Speaking in the capital Dhaka, he said the country’s COVID-19 infection and mortality rates have been decreasing over recent days, but the trend could be reversed due to increased social interactions on the annual holiday.

His comments came as inter-city travel is peaking across Bangladesh, with Muslims gearing up to mark the first of the three-day festival on Aug. 1.

Exit points of Dhaka have been particularly crowded as the government has allowed the capital’s large migrant labor force to head to their hometowns for the holidays.

The National Technical Advisory Committee on COVID-19 has opposed the government’s decision and urged people to avoid leaving the larger cities.

Meanwhile, the government has decided to keep all educational institutions closed until August 31.

Academic activities have been suspended in Bangladesh since March 17, just a week after the country recorded its first COVID-19 case.

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