Maleque: Taking Omicron lightly may cause great damage – Dhaka Tribune


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People’s reckless movement led to the rise in infections, claims the minister

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People’s reckless movement led to the rise in infections, claims the minister
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Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Tuesday said that nearly 85% of unvaccinated people were being infected by the new Covid-19 variant Omicron in the country.
"We have vaccinated 14 crore people so far while three crore more people have remained unvaccinated," he told a virtual meeting in Dhaka, an official release said.              
He made the comments at a meeting on "Preparedness and doings of handling Covid-19 variant Omicron", organized by Bangladesh Private Medical College Association, reports BSS.
The minister said among the 30 million unvaccinated people, most were workers of factories, transport sector, shops and small business establishments.
“The government is taking all necessary steps to vaccinate them within the shortest possible time to contain the outbreak of the new South African variant Omicron,” he added.
Bangladesh reported 16,033 coronavirus infections on Tuesday, taking the overall caseload to 1,715,997.
As many as 49,492 samples were tested in the 24 hours to 8am, for a test positivity rate of 32.4%, according to figures released by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). Fatalities from the virus rose by 18 to stand at 28,256.
Besides, Bangladesh’s total tally of Omicron cases reached 69 with the detection of seven more cases till Monday, according to GISAID, a global initiative on sharing all influenza data.
On Tuesday, Minister Maleque also warned that violating health guidelines by taking Omicron lightly and considering it to be less dangerous might cause great damage.
The government has issued instructions to contain the surge in Covid-19 cases. If people don’t cooperate, it won’t be successful, he said, reports UNB.
“People’s reckless movement has led to the rise in infections.”
"We’ve dealt with the Delta variant successfully even though we had so many limitations, like inadequate oxygen supply. There was a lack of beds in the hospitals as well as experienced health workers, including doctors and nurses," he added.
"But after fighting the second wave of the coronavirus, our confidence and courage have increased. We have the capability to deal with any further wave now.”
The minister further said the number of Covid-linked deaths had dropped to zero level when the number of infections declined. 
"We had thought Covid-19 would go. But then too much confidence grew among our people. They roamed around without wearing masks with no one observing hygiene rules. Even those who visited Cox’s Bazar did not wear masks,” he observed.
Maleque mentioned that a lot of marriage ceremonies had taken place and thousands of people gathered at those events, maintaining no social distancing and health protocols.
"We still see very few people wearing masks at the trade fair. Few people in the markets are wearing masks. These are the reasons why the infections have increased.”
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