DHAKA, May 18 (Xinhua) -- Bangladesh saw its deadliest day of the COVID-19 pandemic so far with the highest single-day hike of 21 in deaths of COVID-19 patients Monday.
Professor Nasima Sultana, a senior Health Ministry official, told an online media briefing in Dhaka that "another 21 COVID-19 deaths were confirmed in a 24-hour period, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country since March 18 to 349."
Earlier on May 13, Bangladesh reported the highest 19 deaths of COVID-19 patients in a day.
According to the official, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased to 23,870, with the biggest daily rise of 1,602 cases reported in the last 24 hours as of 8:00 a.m. local time on Monday.
Bangladesh earlier recorded the highest 1,273 cases in a 24-hour period on May 17.
According to the official, 9,788 samples were tested in the last 24 hours in scores of labs across Bangladesh.
During the last 24 hours, she said 212 more patients were released from hospitals and clinics, bringing the number of recovered patients in the country to 4,585.
Sultana said Bangladesh capital Dhaka remained the country's epicenter of the COVID-19 infection with many new cases and fatalities every day.
Against this backdrop, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) have again tightened restrictions on the flow of people into and out of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.
DMP personnel were seen Monday reinforcing the checkpoints at key entry and exit points to the city.
DMP Commissioner Md Shafiqul Islam has instructed officers strengthening check-posts to check any person entering or exiting Dhaka barring an emergency, a DMP official said anonymously.
"DMP decided to tighten COVID-19 curbs following hefty rises in infections in the recent days amid eased lockdown for allowing more business activities ahead of the Muslims' Eid festival."
With days left before Eid-ul-Fitr which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan that started here on April 25, more and more Bangladesh capital dwellers are now going out with more and more shops and markets reopening though on a limited scale.
The Bangladeshi government recently extended the nationwide lockdown again to May 30 but softened restrictions on business activities.
Bangladesh allowed re-opening of shops and markets in the country from May 10 on a limited scale. Thousands of the country's readymade garment (RMG) factories have resumed operations since last month.
"We'll be able to contain the virus though the lockdown has been relaxed on a limited scale for the sake of ensuring livelihood of millions," Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier said.
Bangladesh announced first a shutdown of offices and public transport from March 26 to April 4. Enditem