Bangladesh reported 56 more Coronavirus-related deaths and 1,386 new cases in a 24-hour period until Sunday morning.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said the latest fatalities took the country’s death toll to 11,934 while the mortality rate remained static at 1.54 percent.
Besides, the DGHS said, the new cases were detected after testing 16,915 samples, pushing up the total case count to 773,513. Bangladesh has so far carried out 5,630,894 tests.
After a massive upsurge, the number of daily cases fell below 2,000 since May 1. There has been a steady decline in the number of tests since April 28. The number of testes rose again over 20,000 on May 4, 5 and 6, according to corona.gov.bd.
The daily infection rate fell to 8.19%, which was 8.74% a day before, according to the DGHS.
The number of Covid deaths came down to as low as 50 after over a month on Wednesday.
Bangladesh saw 50 deaths on April 1 and it had kept rising since then.
The daily death toll soared to over 100 on April 16-19 and on April 25 but has been falling gradually since then.
According to the DGHS, 3,329 patients recovered in the past 24 hours, putting the recovery rate at 91.81%.
The country reported its first coronavirus cases on March 8 last year and the first death on the 18th of that month.
Dhaka remains worst-hit region
Dhaka has remained the worst-hit region, recording 6,922 fatalities or 58% of the total deaths until now.
Twenty-two of the 56 virus-related deaths recorded today are from Dhaka and 21 from Chattogram.
Indian Coronavirus strain detected
A confirmed case of Indian Coronavirus strain was detected in Bangladesh on Saturday, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) confirmed.
The Indian strain 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.
Two more confirmed cases of Indian Coronavirus strain were detected at the Genome Centre of Jashore University of Science and Technology on the same day.
India reported over 4,00,000 new Covid-19 cases on Saturday, taking the caseload to over 2.2 crore. With 4,133 new deaths, the toll now stands at over 2,42,000.
Also read: Covid-19: Bangladesh sees 45 more deaths with 1285 new cases
Into the fourth week of extended lockdown
The government has issued a notification extending the ongoing lockdown until May 16 with six fresh directives alongside the existing ones to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The country is passing through a ‘strict’ lockdown since April 14 but people are still indifferent towards health guidelines and safety rules.
According to the notification issued by the Cabinet Division, the officials of all government, semi-government autonomous and private organisations, banks and financial institutions have been asked 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 the notification.
Inter-district transport services will remain closed while intra-district transport services were allowed to operate ensuring health guidelines from Thursday. However, launch and train services will remain off.
Amid a mad rush of home-bound people ahead of Eid, ferry services on Paturia-Daulatdia and Shimulia-Banglabazar routes have been suspended on Saturday to curb the spread of Covid-19.
However, vessels carrying patients and goods will be allowed to cross the rivers, said BIWTC public relations officer Nazrul Islam.
Bangladesh launched its vaccination drive on February 7 with Oxford-AstraZeneca doses purchased from India's Serum Institute.
Bangladesh 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 in Bangladesh 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 by early May.
Dwindling vaccine stock
The DGHS on Wednesday said the stock of the Covid-19 vaccine is dwindling in Bangladesh as there are only 1.4 million jabs left with no sign in sight to get a fresh consignment of it from India.
DGHS spokesperson Dr Robed Amin said, "We had around 10.2 million doses. Around 8.8 million jabs have already been administered as the first and second doses. Now we've some 1.4 million doses in stock."
He said there will be a vaccine crisis if a fresh consignment does not arrive in the country before the existing stock is exhausted.
Vaccine expected from US
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said the government has intensified its efforts to have vaccine jabs from the USA as it will share up to 60 million doses of its Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine with other countries.
With India slapping a ban on the export of AstraZeneca vaccines made by its Serum Institute, 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 Chinese Covid-19 vaccine, a day after approving the emergency use of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.
"We'll get 5,00,000 doses of the Chinese vaccine as a gift within 7-10 days. Then the government will start buying those on a G2G basis," Mahbubur Rahman, director general of the Directorate General of Drug Administration told reporters.