Medical &Health

Bangladesh loses 26 more lives to Covid, toll reaches 12,310

Bangladesh lost 26 more lives in the second wave of Covid in 24 hours till Friday morning, taking the country's fatalities to 12,310.

The daily infection rate rose to 8.22% from Thursday's 7.50%, said the Directorate General of Health Services.

Meanwhile, 1,504 people came out positive in 18,294 tests carried out over the same period, pushing the country's caseload to 786,698.

"The fatality number, recorded so far, is lower compared to the number of positive cases. This warrants conduction of genomic sequencing to see if any new but less virulent variant is in the offing," Dr AM Zakir Hussain, former director of the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research, told UNB.

Meanwhile, the fatality rate remained unchanged at 1.56% and the recovery rate stood at 92.67%.

Read: 3 India returnees test positive for Covid in Magura

So far, the country has carried out 5,793,177 sample tests since reporting its first cases on March 8 last year and the first death on the 18th of that month.

Vaccination drive

Bangladesh launched its vaccination drive on February 7 with Oxford-AstraZeneca doses purchased from India's Serum Institute.

The administration of the first dose has remained suspended 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.

Vaccine supply update

The government 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.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen Friday reached out to global media to let the world know that Bangladesh is desperately looking for vaccines and ready to accept any shipment from any country including the US.

"A large number of people in Bangladesh, who took the first dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca, could not get the second dose because we have run out of supplies," the minister said.

Also, Dr Momen said he had requested the US government and sent a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

"They agreed to give us vaccine. However, the US Food and Drug Administration is taking much time to approve the export of AstraZeneca," he said.

Read:Bangladesh reaches out to int'l media as it seeks vaccines desperately

The minister Thursday said the government was making its best efforts to get vaccines from multiple countries – the US, China, Canada, Russia and the UK – apart from its continuous request to India to meet Bangladesh's urgent needs.

Bangladesh received 5 lakh China's Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine doses as a gift on May 12. The administering of the shots will begin by May 25-26, said Health Minister Zahid Maleque.

Also, the country would receive a minimum of 106,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine under the COVAX scheme, co-led by Gavi on June 2, Zahid Maleque said Tuesday.

Besides, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs Wednesday approved a proposal of the Health Services Division to import the Sinofarm Covid-19 vaccine.

Source: United News of Bangladesh