General

Bangladesh’s daily Covid-19 infection rate drops below 5%

Bangladesh saw a daily infection rate of 4.26% with 656 new cases reported until early Wednesday.

The country recorded a daily infection rate of 5.49% on January 18, 4.90% on January 14, 8.29% on January 10, 7.52% on January 4, and 8.18% on January 1.

Bangladesh has recorded 529,687 cases so far. And the country’s fatality number rose to 7,950 and death rate to 1.50%, with 8 Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, since the first fatality was reported on March 18.

So far, 3,500,667 tests, including 15,410 new ones, have been carried out. The overall infection rate stood at 15.13%, the Directorate General of Health Services said.

However, 474,472 patients – 89.58% – have recovered so far.

The country’s infection number reached the 500,000-mark on December 20. The first cases were reported on March 8. The death toll exceeded 7,000 on December 12.

Covid-19 across the world

The worldwide Covid-19 caseload crossed 96 million on early Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The global case count reached 96,255,312 while the death toll climbed to 2,059,566.

The US – the world’s worst-hit country – crossed the grim milestone of 20 million cases on New Year’s Day.

The country’s infection tally reached 24,254,284 and fatalities stood at 401,777 on early Wednesday.

By mid-December, five in every 100 Americans – more than 16 million – had been infected by Covid-19.

Meanwhile, India reported 10,595,639 cases and 152,718 deaths until early Wednesday. Brazil recorded 211,491 deaths and 8,573,864 infections.

Bangladesh in vaccine race

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said there would be sufficient vaccines in the country with 35 lakh doses of Covishield coming from India on Thursday.

He said, “India is sending 20 lakh doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine made by Serum Institute of India as a gift while 15 lakh doses will come through private sector channels.”

“So, together we will get 35 lakh doses of vaccines on Thursday. There would be plenty of vaccines in the country. We can start the vaccination programme ahead of the schedule.”

Asked whether Bangladesh will get vaccines as a gift from other countries, Dr Momen said he was not aware of it but more countries including Russia and China were interested in providing vaccines.

On January 18, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said Bangladesh would receive the first consignment of Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine during January 25-26.

“As per the guideline of the World Health Organization, we will vaccinate those first who are working with risks. Also, elderly people will get more priority. People below the age of 18 will not get the vaccine,” the minister said.

“The government is also in talks with Russia, China and others to collect more vaccines.”

On January 14, Maleque said, “Bangladesh can now store up to 150 million vaccines. So, there will not be any problem when 40-50 million doses come from India.”

“Each government hospital has been prepared to preserve 425,000 doses. Another 71,000 doses can be stored in the five-six ice freezers at the hospitals.”

“The Directorate General of Drug Administration (DGDA) will strictly monitor the vaccination process to prevent irregularities. A ‘vaccine bulletin’ will be published regularly by the health ministry,” the minister said.

“Around 42,000 health workers are being trained for vaccination and an app for vaccine registration and distribution is in the final stage of completion under the ICT ministry.”

On January 7, the government approved the emergency use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

The approval would allow Beximco Pharmaceuticals to bring doses from the Serum Institute of India, which is manufacturing the vaccine, Mohammad Salahuddin, deputy director of the DGDA, said.

Under the deal, Bangladesh will import 3 crore doses of SARS-Cov-2 AZD 1222 (Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine) from Serum in the next six months.

On December 28, Bangladeshi pharmaceutical company Globe Biotech got approval from the DGDA for manufacturing Covid-19 vaccine for clinical trials.

Dr Mohammad Mohiuddin, Manager of Globe Biotech Limited (Head of Quality Operation), said after completing the trials, they would start supplying vaccines following protocols.

“Hopefully, we will be able to begin clinical trials in January. It will take five months to finish. The vaccine will be available by June if we can begin the clinical trials this month.”

Source: United News of Bangladesh