Bangladesh’s 168 million people have been under a strict coronavirus lockdown. The streets of the South Asian nation were empty, 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 new variants — such as Delta, the most contagious to date — have fueled outbreaks around the world even as mass vaccination programs are launched in many countries.
Despite the resurgence of the virus in many parts of the world, many nations are pressing ahead with their plans to open up their economies and revive sectors badly hit by the pandemic, especially travel and tourism.