• Monday, Jan 24, 2022
  • Last Update : 03:02 am

Covid-19: Bangladesh detects 13 more Indian variant cases

  • Published at 02:57 pm May 29th, 2021
Puthia Assistant Commissioner (Land) Rumana Afroz urges everyone to mask up through a megaphone at Baneswar Bazar in Rajshahi in an attempt to curb the surge of Covid-19 cases in the area on Saturday, May 29, 2021 Courtesy: Azahar Uddin

Seven of these patients, who did not visit India recently, are from Chapainawabganj

Amid an upward trend of Covid-19 fatalities in Bangladesh, a key official of the health sector on Saturday revealed that the fast-spreading and deadlier Indian variant had been spotted in the samples of 13 more people.

Shockingly, seven of them are from Chapainawabganj, a border district which has been under a strict lockdown since May 23. But these seven people did not visit India recently, Prof Dr Tahmina Shirin, the director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), said. 

According to IEDCR data shared on the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data website, the country has so far recorded 20 cases of the Indian variant.

Of them, eight people were found infected with this variant even though they did not visit the neighboring country recently.

IEDCR Director Shirin said six of the newly detected patients had travelled to India and the variant was detected on them during quarantine after their return.

“We are still doing contact tracing. We’ll know more when it’s done. But it’s likely that the transmission happened locally,” she said.

Also Read - Border districts’ Covid infection rates raise alarm

The information was divulged at a time when the country is experiencing rising coronavirus fatalities, with another 38 deaths recorded in the 24 hours till Saturday morning. The daily Covid-19 deaths have been increasing since Wednesday.

Over the past week or so, Chapainawabganj has turned into a hotspot of Covid-19, leading to the strict restrictions which will be in place till Monday. Bangladesh is already under a lockdown scheduled to end on June 1. 

Border districts now a major concern

Recent figures from the World Health Organisation say the Covid-19 infection rate is showing a notable upward trend in districts that share borders with or are close to India. 

Besides Chapainawabganj, 14 other border districts with higher infection rates include Chuadanga, Naogaon, Rajshahi and Jessore.  

These districts are major sources of services by day labourers in different cities, who returned home during the Eid holidays and might have contributed to the upward trend.

Also Read - Bangladesh reports first cases of Indian Covid-19 variant

Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Director General Prof Dr ABM Khurshid Alam, hinting that Chapainawabganj could have spread the virus most, said the authorities might extend the strict lockdown in the district if needed. 

Bangladesh has ascertained the presence of five Covid 19 variants in the country since November last year, with the Indian variant (B.1.617.2) being the latest.

On May 8 this year, Bangladesh had confirmed the first two patients, who had visited India, infected with the Indian variant.

The authorities detected the UK variant in January, but confirmed the detection in March. Confirmation regarding three other variants came in late April. 

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