Bangladesh reported 45 more Coronavirus related deaths with 1285 new cases in 24 hours until Saturday morning amid concern after the detection of first case of highly contagious Indian Coronavirus strain in the country.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said the new fatalities pushed up the country’s death toll to 11,878 while the mortality rate remained static at 1.54 percent.
Besides, the DGHS said, 1,285 new cases were detected during the period after the test of 14,703 samples, taking the total case count to 772,127.
Also, the country's infection rate fell to 8.74%, which was 9.89% a day ago, according to the DGHS.
The number of Covid deaths came down to as low as 50 after over a month on Wednesday as Bangladesh saw 50 deaths earlier on April 1 and it had kept rising since then.
The body count soared to over 100 during April 16-19 and on April 25 but the daily fatalities have been falling gradually since then.
According to the DGHS, 2,492 infected people recovered in the past 24 hours, putting the recovery rate at 91.54%.
Bangladesh has so far carried out 5,613 ,979 nationwide tests since reporting its first coronavirus cases on March 8 last year and the first death on the 18th of that month.
Dhaka, worst hit region as death toll nears 7,000
Dhaka remained the worst hit region by the virus, recording 6,900 fatalities or 58.09% of the total deaths until now.
Twenty-one of the 45 virus related deaths recorded today are from Dhaka and 13 are from Chattogram.
Indian Coronavirus strain detected
A confirmed case of Indian Coronavirus strain has been detected in Bangladesh on Saturday, confirmed Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research(IEDCR).
The Indian strain of Coronavirus 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.
The new strain was detected in samples collected from recent India returnee passengers in Bangladesh.
India recorded over 4 lakh new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours ending 8 am Saturday, taking the country’s total caseload to over 2.18 crore. With 4,187 new deaths, the toll now stands at over 2.38 lakh.
Into the third week of extended lockdown
The government has issued a notification extending the ongoing lockdown until May 16 with six fresh directives alongside the existing ones to contain the spread of Covid-19.
According to the notification issued by the Cabinet Division, the officials of all government, semi-government autonomous and private organisations, banks and financial institutions have been asked to remain at their respective workstations during the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr holidays.
Shops and shopping malls will remain open from 10am to 8pm maintaining health guidelines. If any kind of deviation and violation are seen, the shopping malls and shops will be closed instantly, says the notification.
Inter-district transport services will remain closed while only intra-district transport services were allowed to operate ensuring health guidelines from Thursday. However, launch and train services will remain off.
Amid a mad rush of home-bound people ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr, ferry services on Paturia-Daulatdia and Shimulia-Banglabazar routes have been suspended today to curb the spread of Covid-19.
However, vessels carrying patients and goods will be allowed to cross the rivers, said BIWTC public relations officer Nazrul Islam.
Bangladesh launched its vaccination drive on February 7 with Oxford-AstraZeneca doses purchased from India's Serum Institute.
Bangladesh signed an agreement with Serum for 30 million doses. But a record number of cases in India has made the delivery of the doses uncertain.
The administering of the first dose has remained suspended in Bangladesh since April 26. Also, the country, the prime recipient of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, has suspended the registration for Covid-19 jabs due to vaccine shortage amid a delay in the timely arrival of shipments from India.
However, DGHS DG Prof ABM Khurshid Alam assured that Bangladesh would get 2.1 million doses of vaccines by early May.
Dwindling vaccine stock
The DGHS on Wednesday said the stock of the Covid-19 vaccine is dwindling in Bangladesh as there are only 14 lakh jabs left with no sign in sight to get a fresh consignment of it from India.
DGHS spokesperson Dr Robed Amin said, "We had around 1 crore and 2 lakh doses. Around 88 lakh jabs have already been administered as the first and second doses. Now we've some 14 lakh doses in stock."
He said there will be a vaccine crisis if a fresh consignment does not arrive in the country before the existing stock is exhausted.
Vaccine expected from US
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said the government has intensified its efforts to have vaccine jabs from the USA as it will share up to 60 million doses of its Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine with other countries.
With India slapping a ban on the export of AstraZeneca vaccines made by its Serum Institute, Bangladesh is trying to get technology from Russia and China to produce their vaccines locally.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on April 28 approved in principle a proposal for producing Russian and Chinese Covid-19 vaccines in Bangladesh.
The government on April 29 approved the emergency use of Sinopharm, a Chinese Covid-19 vaccine, a day after approving the emergency use of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.
"We'll get 5 lakh doses of the Chinese vaccine as a gift within 7-10 days. Then the government will start buying those on a G2G basis," Mahbubur Rahman, director general of the Directorate General of Drug Administration told reporters.