As many as 36 Bangladeshi nationals, who returned from India through the Akhaura land port on Tuesday, have been sent to Cumilla to undergo institutional quarantine as all the isolation centres in Brahmanbaria are full, officials said on Wednesday.
The 36 Bangladeshis returned home from India on Tuesday after obtaining a 'no-objection certificate' from the Deputy High Commission of Bangladesh in Agartala. Similarly, 27 Indian nationals have returned home through the land port.
Mohammad Nur-e-Alam, Upazila Nirbahi officer, said these 36 Indian returnees have been sent to Cumilla as all the institutional isolation facilities in the district are full. "Those who have completed their 14-day quarantine at the centres will be released soon," he said.
So far, 718 Bangladeshis have returned from India through the Akhaura land port in the past three weeks.
Dr Mohammad Rashedur Rahman, Akhaura upazila health and family planning officer, said at present 346 people are staying at the nine quarantine centres of the district and of them three tested positive for Covid.
As India has been experiencing a new strain of Covid-19, the government has imposed restrictions along the border areas of Bangladesh. According to the World Health Organisation, the Indian variant has already spread to 60 countries across the world.
The Bangladeshi citizens currently travelling to India for treatment and having visas with validity for less than 15 days could enter Bangladesh only through Benapole, Akhaura and Burimari after taking permission from Bangladesh diplomatic missions in New Delhi, Kolkata, and Agartala and with a mandatory Covid-negative certificates done through PCR test within 72 hours of entry.
The highly contagious Indian variant of the coronavirus has been detected in three more samples of Bangladeshis who recently returned from the neighbouring country, Prof Iqbal Kabir Zahid, assistant director of the genome centre of Jashore Science and Technology University, said.
The three infected persons are currently under institutional quarantine at Jashore and Narail, he told UNB.
On Monday, the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) announced that the Indian variant was found in six Covid-19 patients in Bangladesh.
The Indian strain of the virus was detected in a sample test at Evercare Hospital in Dhaka and it has been published on Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID), said chief scientific officer of IEDCR ASM Alamgir.
Earlier, the government closed the border with India for 14 days with effect from April 26 but cargo services were allowed to operate as usual.
On May 8, the government decided to extend the closure of border with India for another 14 days as the Covid-19 situation keeps worsening in India.