The director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) has attributed the recent surge in Covid-19 cases in Bangladesh to people’s unwillingness to follow hygiene rules as well as the Delta variant of the coronavirus.

“Health guidelines are the same for everyone. [But] people at weddings or polling centres are not masking up,” Prof Tahmina Shirin told the daily Prothom Alo on Tuesday.

Driven by the Delta variant, the country saw a significant increase in the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in mid-2021. The daily figures dwindled in August and the daily infection rate had remained around 1% throughout early December, before hitting a three-month high of 3.37% on Monday.

The discovery of the new Omicron variant has sparked global concern, but Prof Shirin insisted that the Delta variant is to blame for the current infection upsurge in the country.

Even in November, 100% of Covid-19 patients were infected with the Delta variant, she added.

However, the IEDCR has yet to complete genome sequencing of the samples collected in December, she said.

Bangladesh recorded 674 new infections, highest since October 6, and four deaths in the 24 hours to Monday morning.

However, health experts say there is no cause for alarm yet as the daily test positivity rate is still below 5%.

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