Bangladesh’s 168 million people on Friday began a strict coronavirus lockdown while Indonesia announced emergency curbs as infections surged across parts of the Asia-Pacific.
A European Union-wide coronavirus travel certificate was also set to come into force on Friday, but concerns persisted about a resurgence of the disease as the World Health Organisation said cases in the continent were up after 10 weeks of decline.
Many outbreaks have been blamed on the more infectious Delta variant of the virus, which has pushed Covid-19 deaths in Russia to record levels and sparked an “alarming and dangerous” case surge in Bangladesh.
The streets of the South Asian nation were empty on Friday, patrolled by the army and the police, with people confined to their homes except for emergencies and to buy essentials.
“A lot of people are dying and getting infected,” Touhidul Islam Chowdhury, who owns a small loan recovery firm, said.
“The army should have deployed much earlier.” Many hospitals in Bangladesh are struggling, particularly in areas bordering India where the strain was first detected. Some rural towns have recorded infection rates of 70 percent.
The healthcare system in Indonesia was also overwhelmed by a huge coronavirus wave, which has forced the government to tighten restrictions from Saturday until July 20.—AFP