DHAKA, Bangladesh

Coronavirus cases in Bangladesh topped the 1 million mark on Friday with 11,324 new infections and 212 more deaths recorded in the past 24 hours, the highest ever fatalities since the pandemic hit the country in March last year.

The South Asian country of 165 million people has registered 1,000,543 cases and 16,004 fatalities so far, according to the Directorate General of Health Services.

The daily infection positivity rate remained at 30.95%, much higher than the World Health Organization’s recommended minimum level.

A third COVID-19 wave has swept across the country with the emergence of new hotspots, especially in border districts along India.

A study by the government Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research last month found that 80% of new infections across Bangladesh were caused by the Delta variant, first found in India.

Meanwhile, the government has decided to set up five COVID-19 field hospitals in the capital Dhaka to decongest overcrowded health facilities amid growing hospitalizations, a Health Ministry official said Friday.

The shortage of beds and other facilities at district and local hospitals have already created a crisis in Dhaka as more and more patients are rushing to facilities in the capital.

As of Friday, Bangladesh has fully inoculated 4.2 million people with the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, while 5.8 million people have received a first dose of the vaccine.

Over 123,676 people have received a first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine and 9,773 people took the Pfizer vaccine, according to the Health Ministry.

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