France donates 2.06 mln AstraZeneca vaccine doses to Bangladesh

The government of France has donated 2.06 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Bangladesh under the COVAX arrangement as a gesture of solidarity to the friendly country’s fight against Covid-19 pandemic.

The French gesture covers a consignment containing 2,006,400 doses of vaccine as well as their transport to Dhaka through their own arrangement.

French Ambassador to Bangladesh Jean-Marin Schuh handed over the token vaccine doses to Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and Health Minister Zahid Maleque at a function held at State guesthouse Padma on Tuesday.

Through vaccine sharing, the relations between the two countries will further be strengthened, both sides noted.

The announcement over donating vaccine came during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s recent visit to Paris recently.

“We thank the French government and the people of France. I would like to say that I had never seen in the past the way they showed respect to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina this time during her visit. From the day one, they have really showed great respect to our Prime Minister,” Dr Momen said.

The Foreign Minister said Sweden will also donate 5.30 lakh doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to Bangladesh.

He appreciated the role of Bangladesh Health Minister saying he has done an excellent job under the leadership of Prime Minister in terms of dealing with the Covid-19 situation in the country.

“He (Health Minister) stood like a solid rock under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina despite various criticism,” Dr Momen said.

The French Ambassador hoped that both the countries would soon be able to overcome the pandemic through shared efforts.

He noted that Bangladesh government would allocate a part of these vaccine doses to the Rohingya population in the camps.

The Health Minister thanked the French government for extending support to Bangladesh in such a time when the government of Bangladesh was taking due efforts to inoculate its total population. “It’ll help boost our vaccination efforts.”

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Narail: Gallows for one, life term for 3 in farmer’s murder case

A local court on Tuesday sentenced a man to death and three others to life imprisonment for killing a farmer in Bhabanipur village of Narail Sadar upazila in 2016.

District and sessions judge Munshi Moshiar Rahman also imposed a fine of Tk 50,000 on each of the convicts. The one sentenced to death has been identified as Jaminur Rahman Mollah of the village.

According to the case statement, Mofi Sheikh, the farmer, was returning home in Bhabanipur village with his minor son after collecting the child’s stipend from school on July 18, 2016, when the trio killed him with a sharp weapon.

Later, the victim’s wife Rexona Khatun filed a complaint at Narail Sadar police station.

Based on the complaint, an FIR was lodged by the police against six people. Two of the accused were acquitted during the trial.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Govt decides to administer Covid booster dose to above-60 citizens

The government will administer Covid-19 booster doses to senior citizens aged above 60, but the date for the campaign has not yet been decided, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said on Tuesday.

“We will sit later to set the date. We have a plan to provide booster dose to those who are seriously ill,” he said while talking to reporters after an inter-ministerial meeting on Covid-19 at the ministry.

He said the meeting discussed measures on how to prevent Omicron, a new powerful variant of the infection, from entering the country and contain its spread.

The minister said the government is recommending a ban on flights from African countries and discouraging travelers arriving from Africa in a move to stem the infections.

“Those who still arrive will be placed under institutional quarantine under the watch of the military,” he said adding that this applies also for passengers from European countries. Vigilance along the borders will be strengthened.

“Many people have come and go to our neighbouring country and we have discussed restricting public movement in bordering areas,” he said.

Zahid listed a number of other measures the meeting has decided to take in tackling the virus.

Deputy Commissioners will be asked to ensure that social, political and religious programmes are conducted on a limited scale.

Besides, directives have been given to conduct mobile court drives to ensure the use of masks and slap fines for breaches, he said adding “Our health department has been asked to form a national monitoring cells in all districts and upazilas and take decisions instantly.”

He also urged people to arrange virtual meeting instead of physical presence.

No vaccine no service

“We are going to introduce no vaccine, no service system because we have found some people reluctant to be jabbed,” he added.

“We have brought school students, slum dwellers and people from all walks of life under vaccination programme. Our move of ‘no vaccine no service’ is to accelerate the vaccination programme so that people come forward to get the jab.”

Replying to a question Zahid said “We will send letters to all ministries and they will enforce it.”

Zahid said the country is now better prepared with hospital treatment of Covid patients than before.

Govt decides to administer Covid booster dose to above-60 citizens

14-day mandatory quarantine

People who will arrive from Africa must go under a 14-day compulsory quarantine whether it is home quarantine or institutional quarantine, said the minister. “We want the armed forces personnel’s intervention in it to manage the whole process.”

“Omicron has spread in different parts of Africa and the new variant has been detected in some European countries including the UK. A discussion was held over how to stem the new variant and how to tackle it if found detected in our country,” he said.

Mentioning that Omicron has the capacity to infect more people than Delta variant, the minister said “It is difficult to identify people detected with omicron as the patient has light symptoms with cough and weakness.”

Replying to a question about the quarantine expenditure, Maleque said “Persons should have to bear their own expenses and if anyone fails to bear expenses then we’ll consider it.”

Hospital arrangements

The hospitals across the country are well equipped as there are 18,000 beds. Besides, central oxygen lines are available in 120 hospitals while the country is producing almost 300 tonnes of liquid oxygen.”

Talking about the duration of testing time, he said “We are thinking about reducing the duration of the testing time from 48 or 24 hours from the existing 72-hour.”

Replying to a question on arrival of about 240 people from South Africa, the minister said “Some 240 people have arrived from South Africa in the one month and they have provided wrong addresses and their phone numbers were found switched off. We are trying to detect them through contract tracing”

The covid preventive committee will be tasked to monitor it at the district, upazila and union levels and they can hoist red flag on the top of the house if needed.

HSC exam

The minister said the students will continue attending classes as it is going on and there is no need to extend the class time.

Besides, the Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examination will be held as per scheduled routine.

Replying to a question about the vaccination progress to students, Zahid said “Already 7/8 lakh students have bene vaccinated and we are trying to enroll more students under vaccination programme.

Amid the growing concern over the new ‘Omicron’ variant of coronavirus, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) on Monday issued a 15-point guideline to fight the new variant. The measures, including a travel ban from the countries affected by it, have been suggested by the National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Global Covid cases top 262 million

The overall number of Covid cases has surpassed 262 million amid concern of the emergence of a new variant, Omicron, in some countries.

According to Johns Hopkins University (JHU), the total case count mounted to 262,093,495 while the death toll from the virus reached 5,206,982 Tuesday morning.

The US has recorded 48,438,063 cases to date and more than 778,701 people have died so far from the virus in the country, as per the university data.

Brazil, which has been experiencing a new wave of cases since January, has registered 22,084,749 cases so far, while its Covid death toll rose to 614,428.

India’s Covid-19 tally rose to 34,583,597 on Sunday, as 8,309 new cases were registered in 24 hours across the country, as per the federal health ministry data.

Besides, as many as 236 deaths due to the pandemic since Saturday morning took the total death toll to 468,790.

Russia registered 33,860 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, taking the nationwide tally to 9,604,233, the official monitoring and response center said Monday.

The nationwide death toll grew by 272,755, to 273,964 while the number of recoveries increased by 8,268,111 to 8,295,811.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday that it’s not yet clear whether Omicron easily spreads from person to person compared to other variants, even though the number of people testing positive has risen in South Africa where this variant was involved.

It’s also not yet clear whether Omicron causes more severe disease, but preliminary data suggests that there are increasing rates of hospitalisation in South Africa, which however may be due to increasing overall numbers of people becoming infected, reports Xinhua.

WHO classified on Friday the latest variant B.1.1.529 of SARS-CoV-2 virus, now with the name Omicron, as a ‘Variant of Concern’ (VOC).

Situation in Bangladesh

Bangladesh logged two more Covid-related deaths and 227 fresh cases in 24 hours till Monday morning.

With the latest cases, the daily case positivity rate rose to 1.34 percent from Sunday’s 1.03 percent, said the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

With the fresh numbers, the total fatalities rose to 27,980 while the caseload mounted to 15,76,011.

Both the latest deceased were men, aged between 61 and 80, and were reported from the Dhaka division.

Of the 25 deaths recorded from November 22 to November, 28, 12 percent received Covid vaccines while 88 percent did not, the directorate said.

The death rates in Covid-19 patients with comorbidities increased to 0.4 percent this week compared to the previous one. Comorbidity means the simultaneous presence of two or more diseases or medical conditions in a patient.

However, the mortality rate remained static at 1.78 percent.

The fresh cases were detected after testing 16,891 samples, the directorate added.

Besides, the recovery rate remained unchanged at 97.75 percent, with the recovery of 280 more patients during the 24-hour period.

On November 20, Bangladesh logged this year’s first zero Covid-linked death with 178 cases.

So far, 3,64,34,738 people have fully been vaccinated in the country, while 5,94,08,254 received the first dose as of Sunday, according to the directorate.

However, public health experts fear a slow pace of vaccination, waning vaccine immunity, disregard for Covid safety protocols, reopening of schools and increased travel may set the stage for another Covid wave in Bangladesh — a trend many European countries are witnessing now.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

National Professor Rafiqul Islam dies at 87

National Professor Rafiqul Islam, also the Chairman of Bangla Academy, passed away at Evercare Hospital in the capital on Tuesday. He was 87.

“The eminent professor breathed his last at 2:30 pm,” a source close to his family told UNB.

The body of Dr Rafiqul Islam will be taken to the Central Shaheed Minar on Wednesday at 2 pm for people to pay their last respects.

He will be buried at Azimpur Graveyard after Asr prayers on Wednesday, according to his family sources.

Prof Rafiqul Islam, also the Director of the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB)’s Centre for Bangla Studies, was put on life support at the Evercare Hospital on November 26.

Prof Rafiqul, also a teacher of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, was admitted to the hospital a week prior to that, and got shifted to the High Dependency Unit of the hospital after his condition worsened.

On October 7, he was admitted to Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) with abdominal pain. After tests, doctors confirmed that water had accumulated in his lungs, which was later extracted.

According to the family, Rafiqul Islam wanted to be treated in the country. He did not even want to come to Evercare Hospital and was willing to continue receiving treatment at the BSMMU.

Born on January 1, 1934 at Kolakanda village, Matlab upazila in Chandpur district to Dr Md Zulfiker Ali and Jannatunesa, Prof Rafiqul Islam completed his MA in Bangla from Dhaka University in 1956. He was an active participant in the 1952 Language Movement.

Later, he completed his MA in Linguistics from Cornel University, USA in 1960. He obtained his PhD from Dhaka University in 1976. He started his glorious career in academia at Dhaka University in 1957 and taught Bangla and linguistics there till 1958.

Inducted as a National Professor in 2018, Dr Rafiqul Islam later became head of the Bangla department at Dhaka University. Later, he became the Vice-Chancellor (2007-2011) of the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB).

One of the most respected Nazrul researchers, Rafiqul Islam was the first Nazrul Professor at the Bangla department of Dhaka University and the first director of the Nazrul Research Centre. He has penned about 30 books, including the first book on martyred intellectuals and the first book on the centenary history of Dhaka University.

For his excellence in the field of academia and culture, Professor Dr Rafiqul Islam has received Independence Award (2012), Ekushey Padak (2001), Bangla Academy Literary Award (1994) and International Mother Language Award.

President, PM mourn

President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, among others, expressed profound shock at his death.

In a condolence message, the President said the death of the eminent academician was an irreparable loss to the country’s education and culture.

Hamid recalled Prof Rafiqul’s role as the chairman of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Birth Centenary Celebration National Implementation Committee.

The President said he played an important role in spreading Bangabandhu’s principles and ideals at national and international levels.

The country and the nation will forever remember his contribution to the promotion of the spirit of independence and liberation war in Bangladesh, he said.

Expressing deep shock at her teacher’s death, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said National Professor Rafiqul Islamwill ever remain alive as a shining star in Bangla literature and research.

In a condolence message, Hasina said the history Dr Rafiqul Islam had written as an eyewitness following his active participation in the Language Movement and the great Liberation War are invaluable resources for Bengali literature.

Hasina said he had an outstanding contribution to Nazrul research. “The literary work of this eminent writer and researcher will always inspire the Bengali nation with the spirit of Liberation War and patriotism. He will remain alive as a shining star in Bengali literature and research,” said the Prime Minister.

“With his death, I’ve lost my teacher, mentor and guardian. My beloved teacher’s encouragement and motivation on various nationally important issues gave me courage and strength to move forward,” she said.

The Prime Minister prayed for the salvation of the departed soul and expressed deep sympathy to bereaved family members.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

SSC examinee’s death: Helper of killer bus held, say police

One more person has been arrested in connection with the tragic death of an SSC examinee in a road accident in the Rampura Bazaar area of Dhaka on Monday night.

The arrestee has been identified as Chan Mia, the helper of the killer bus that ran over Mainuddin, the victim.

Chan was nabbed by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) from the Sayedabad area of the capital in the early hours of Tuesday, said Imran Khan, assistant director (media wing) at RAB headquarters.

Mainuddin, a candidate in the ongoing SSC examination and student of Ekramunnesa School and College, was run over by the bus around 10.45 pm Monday in the Rampura Bazar area. Following the accident, an angry mob torched eight buses.

Azizul Haque, an eye-witness, said that the student was run over by the speeding bus as soon as he got off another bus in the Rampura Bazar area. He died on the spot.

“Police are trying to find out how the accident occurred,” said Rampura police station officer-in-charge Rafiqul Islam.

Meanwhile, deputy commissioner of police

(Motijheel range) Abdul Ahad told reporters that the bus had been seized and its driver arrested. “Action will be taken against him,” he added.

Deputy assistant director of the Fire Service and Civil Defense Hafizur Rahman told UNB that eight buses were set on fire by people in the wake of the accident.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Dengue: 69 more hospitalized in 24 hrs

Sixty-nine new dengue patients were hospitalised in 24 hours until Tuesday morning, health authorities said.

The number of fatalities from the mosquito-borne disease remained unchanged at 98 in the current year as no fresh death was reported during the period, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

Of the deceased, 90 people have died in Dhaka division alone, two each in Chattogram, Mymensingh and Khulna divisions and one each in Rajshahi and Barishal divisions.

Fifty nine new patients are undergoing treatment in hospitals in Dhaka while the remaining 10 cases have been reported from outside the division.

Some 373 patients diagnosed with dengue are receiving treatment in the country as of Tuesday.

Of them, 268 patients are receiving treatment at different hospitals in the capital while the remaining 105 were listed outside Dhaka.

Since January, some 27,222 patients have been admitted to different hospitals with dengue in the country. So far, 26,751 dengue patients have left hospitals after recovery, said DGHS.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Bangladesh receives ambulances, oxygen generator from S Korea

The government of the Republic of Korea has donated eight ambulances and 100 units of oxygen generator to the government of Bangladesh to support its efforts for overcoming the corona pandemic and enhancing the country’s capacity in the health sector.

The handover ceremony was held on Tuesday at the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in presence of South Korean Ambassador to Bangladesh Lee Jang-keun, DGHS Director General Prof Abdul Bashar Khurshid Alam and Country Director, KOICA Bangladesh Office Doh Young-Ah and other officials from the DGHS.

Ambassador Lee said Korea’s continuous support, including the donation of eight ambulances for combating COVID-19 in Bangladesh symbolizes the friendship between Korea and Bangladesh. “We will stand by our Bangladesh friends.”

Director General Alam, expressing sincere gratitude for Korea’s support, hoped these ambulances help save lives of Bangladesh people by providing them necessary service in time.

He said the Bangladesh government will work together with the Korean government to bring the pandemic to an end.

This donation has been done through KOICA, Korea’s development agency, under the project of ‘Strengthening Quarantine Capacity against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases’ and delivered to the DGHS, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).

The highly advanced ambulances are also equipped with first aid medical boxes, medical oxygen facilities, personal protective equipment and other emergency related accessories, said the South Korean Embassy in Dhaka.

The government of the Republic of Korea has provided various assistance to the Bangladesh Government for addressing the country’s pandemic situation, which includes the 150 million dollars of EDCF loan, 50 million dollars last year and 100 million dollars this year respectively, and the provision of rapid COVID-19 test kits and other medical equipment last year since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Mugda fire: 55-yr-old woman dies of burn injuries

A 55-year-old woman has succumbed to the burn injuries she sustained in a fire caused by cooking gas leakage in their house in the city’s Mugda area on November 22.

Shefali, 55, succumbed to her burn injuries at Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery of Dhaka Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) around 9pm Monday, said Dr SM Ayub Hossain from the institute.

Earlier, three members of the same family died of the burn injuries they suffered in the fire at their ground-floor apartment in Matobbor Gali of Mugda.

The deceased were Shefali’s daughter Priyanka, (32), her husband Shudhangshu (35), and son Arup (5).

Priyanka’s brother Palash had said that the four family members suffered burn injuries as they lit the stove in the morning unaware of the gas leakage.

Later, they were taken to the burn unit of the Dhaka hospital, where they died of their injuries over the past one week.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Cumilla councillor killing: Two accused killed in ‘gunfight’ with cops

Two men accused of killing Cumilla ward councillor Syed Mohammad Sohel were killed in a gunfight on Monday night, police said on Tuesday.

The deceased were identified as Md Sabbir Hossain and Sajon. Three cops also sustained injuries in the exchange of fire, said officer-in-charge of Cumilla Kotwali police station, Anwarul Azim.

Acting on a tip-off, a police team rushed to the Songraish area of the city on Monday night. Seeing the cops, the accused opened fire, forcing the police team to retaliate.

After the gunfight, police rushed the two seriously injured criminals to Cumilla Medical College and Hospital, where they were declared dead on arrival, said Azim. “The bodies were sent for post-mortem.”

“Three cops also received bullet wounds in the gunfight. Two guns and some ammunition were recovered from the spot,” the OC said.

On November 22, Sohel, Cumilla City Corporation (CCC) councillor of Ward-17, and one of his aides were killed while four others sustained injuries when gunmen opened fire in his office in Pathuariapara.

Based on his younger brother Syed Rumon’s complaint, as many as 21 people, some 10 of them unidentified, were booked by the Kotwali police.

So far, a total of five people have been arrested in connection with the double murder.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

PM mourns her teacher Dr Rafiqul Islam’s death

Expressing deep shock at the death of her teacher National Professor Rafiqul Islam, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday said the professor will ever remain alive as a shining star in Bangla literature and research.

In a condolence message, Sheikh Hasina said the history Dr Rafiqul Islam had written as an eyewitness following his active participation in the Language Movement and the great Liberation War are invaluable resources for Bengali literature.

Ekushey Padak and Swadhinata Padak winning writer and eminent Nazrul researcher Prof Rafiqul Islam, 87, passed away at Evercare Hospital in the capital on Tuesday.

Prof Rafiqul Islam was also the chairman of Bangla Academy and president of the National Implementation Committee to celebrate the Birth Centenary Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Hasina said he had an outstanding contribution to Nazrul research. “The literary work of this eminent writer and researcher will always inspire the Bengali nation with the spirit of Liberation War and patriotism. He will remain alive as a shining star in Bengali literature and research,” said the Prime Minister.

“With his death, I’ve lost my teacher, mentor and guardian. My beloved teacher’s encouragement and motivation on various nationally important issues gave me courage and strength to move forward,” she said.

The Prime Minister prayed for the salvation of the departed soul and expressed deep sympathy to bereaved family members.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen also expressed deep shock at the death of National Prof Dr Rafiqul Islam.

In a separate condolence message, Dr Momen said the country has lost a great teacher and guardian following the death of Prof Rafiqul Islam.

The Foreign Minister prayed for the departed soul and conveyed deep sympathy to the bereaved family members.

Source: United News of Bangladesh

Madrasa teacher gets life term for raping student in Barguna

A Barguna court on Tuesday sentenced a madrasa teacher to life time imprisonment in a case filed over raping a seventh grader in 2019.

Barguna Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal Judge Md Hafizur Rahman pronounced the verdict.

The court also fined the lifer Tk 20,000.

According to the case statement, Saiful Islam, a madrasa teacher of Fuljhuri union in Barguna Sadar Upazila, called the class VII student for giving a guide book.

When the girl met Saiful, he took her to his house and raped her.

Locals rescued the girl and admitted her to Barguna General Hospital. Later, she was shifted to Barishal Sher-e-Bangla Medical College and Hospital as her condition deteriorated.

The girl’s father filed a case accusing two people including madrasa teacher Saiful Islam on the same day.

Later, police arrested fugitive Saiful Islam on February 20, 2019.

Source: United News of Bangladesh