Medical &Health

Covid-19 death toll in Bangladesh nears 12000

Bangladesh’s coronavirus fatalities are nearing another grim milestone even as deaths from the virus infection slow down.

The health authorities reported 38 more Covid-19-related deaths in 24 hours until Monday morning, bringing the total number of fatalities to 11,972.

However, the mortality rate remained static at 1.54 percent for the last four days, said a handout of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

Meanwhile, 1,514 new cases were detected after testing 16,848 samples, pushing up the total case count to 7,75,027. Bangladesh has so far carried out 5,647,742 tests.

The daily infection rate rose to 8.99 percent from 8.19 percent a day ago.

Also read: Covid-19 crisis: PM Hasina reiterates firm solidarity with India

After a massive upsurge, the number of daily cases fell below 2,000 since May 1.

However, the number of tests as well as new cases has declined from May 4, according to corona.gov.bd.

According to the DGHS, 2,115 patients recovered in the past 24 hours, putting the recovery rate at 91.90%.

The country reported its first coronavirus cases on March 8 last year and the first death on the 18th of that month.

Dhaka worst-hit region

Dhaka has remained the worst-hit region in the country, recording 6,937 fatalities or 57.94% of the total deaths until now.

Fifteen of the 38 virus-related deaths recorded today are from Dhaka and 11 from Chattogram.

Indian Coronavirus strain

The first case of Indian Coronavirus strain was detected in Bangladesh on Saturday, according to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).

It was detected in a sample test at Evercare Hospital in Dhaka and it has been published in Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID), said IEDCR's chief scientific officer ASM Alamgir.

Also read: Global Covid-19 cases near 158 million

Extended lockdown

A lockdown imposed on April 4 has been extended until May 16 as the government grapples with the coronavirus situation.

But people are still indifferent towards health guidelines and safety rules.

The government has ordered the officials of all government, semi-government autonomous and private organisations, banks and financial institutions 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 a Cabinet Division notification.

Inter-district transport services have remained closed while intra-district transport services were allowed to operate ensuring health guidelines. Launch and train services remain off.

But the restrictions could not deter people from travelling to their village homes ignoring health risks.

Vaccination drive

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

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.

The administering 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.

However, DGHS DG Prof ABM Khurshid Alam assured that Bangladesh would get 2.1 million doses of vaccines within May.

Dwindling vaccine stock

The DGHS on May 5 said the stock of the Covid-19 vaccine is dwindling as there are only 1.4 million jabs left with no sign of a fresh consignment of doses from India.

DGHS spokesperson Dr Robed Amin said there will be a vaccine crisis if a fresh consignment does not arrive before the existing stock is exhausted.

Vaccine expected from China, US

Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming has officially announced that 5,00,000 doses of Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine will reach Bangladesh on May 12 as a “special gift”.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has recently written to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken seeking vaccine doses for immediate and long-term needs.

The government has sought immediate release of 2-4 million doses from the US and a total of 10 to 20 million doses of vaccine for the long-term supply.

Also read: Keep up efforts to procure Covid vaccines: Standing committee on Foreign Ministry

Vaccine production

With India slapping a ban on the export of AstraZeneca vaccines made by Serum, 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 day after approving the emergency use of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.

Source: United News of Bangladesh