The novel coronavirus epidemic has continued to rampage through Bangladesh at an alarming rate with the caseload reaching the grim milestone of 100,000 on Thursday.
Since the first cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, were detected on Mar 8, it took 87 days for the disease to infect 50,000 people. But it only took another 16 days for the caseload to double.
In a bid to contain the rampant spread of the disease, Bangladesh enforced a nationwide lockdown for more than two months before lifting the restrictions on May 31. More than half of the country's caseload of 102,292 was accumulated over the following 18 days.
The official figure sees Bangladesh's coronavirus caseload overtake Canada's, making the South Asian nation the 17th worst-affected country in the world, according to the data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
It came less than a week after it leapfrogged China, the country in which the disease originated, and is now behind Saudi Arabia which has racked up 141,234 cases.
But experts are yet to provide any projections on when the coronavirus outbreak would reach its peak in Bangladesh.
Briefing the media on Thursday, Director General of Health Services Abul Kalam Azad, who recently recovered from COVID-19, projected a bleak outlook of the coronavirus situation in the country. He urged members of the public to strictly comply with the government's health directives to limit the risk of infection.
"Going by the experiences in different countries and the opinions of public health experts, the coronavirus pandemic won't end in one, two or three months. It will persist for another two to three years or more although the rate of infection may not be that high."
The rate of infection in Bangladesh has been on an upward trajectory since the disease was first detected on Mar 8.
The caseload hit 100 on Apr 6 before crossing the 1,000-mark a week later on Apr 14. By May 25, the number of cases had crossed 20,000 and reached 50,000 on Jun 2. The tally subsequently doubled over the next 16 days to surge past 100,000.
The rapid uptick in infections puts Bangladesh among the countries with the fastest growth in cases when compared on a weekly basis.
Another 3,803 people tested positive for COVID-19 in the 24 hours to 8 am Thursday, according to the health directorate.
The death toll from the disease rose to 1,343 with 38 new fatalities being registered in the same period, DGHS Additional Director General Nasima Sultana said on Thursday.