DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh will extend the ongoing nationwide lockdown against the coronavirus pandemic until May 16, the Ministry of Public Administration confirmed on Saturday.

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has agreed to extend the lockdown. It will come into effect once the premier gives her formal approval,” Abdullah Shibli Sadiq, public relations officer for the Ministry of Public Administration, told Anadolu Agency.

He said a notification will be issued by Sunday if the prime minister’s formal approval is received in time.

Bangladesh, which has the most coronavirus cases in South Asia after India and Pakistan, first imposed a nationwide lockdown on March 26 and has extended it five times so far.

The latest extension comes as the overall COVID-19 case count in Bangladesh nears 9,000 with almost 200 deaths.

Health authorities reported 552 new cases on Saturday, raising the total to 8,790, while the death toll increased by five to 175.

A total of 177 patients have recovered in the country to date.

More than 3.36 million cases have been reported in 187 countries and regions since the virus emerged in China last December, with the US and Europe the world’s hardest-hit areas.

A significant number of COVID-19 patients – over 1.06 million – have recovered, but the disease has also claimed close to 240,000 lives so far, according to data compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.

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