Covid-19 may no longer be a serious health threat to Bangladesh as the country has already achieved herd immunity against the virus with the widespread infections of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, say experts. Though there is no credible study and serosurvilnce report here to know about the immunity developed among people across Bangladesh, the medical analysts think the virulent Omicron acted like a natural vaccine infecting most population in the country, helping build the herd immunity. Talking to UNB, leading public health experts Dr Bijon Kumar Sil, Prof Muzaherul Huq and Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed said any new variant of the virus can still infect people having the immunity gained through the Omicron infections, but it may not cause severe illness. They, however, warned that any type of Covid variant can be dangerous for only the immunocompromised people and those who have comorbidities. Herd immunity is a concept based on the body's immune resistance to the spread of a deadly disease (bacterial or viral infection) and it can be obtained in two ways -- naturally through infections of the majority of the population and artificially through vaccinating around 80 percent of the population of a country. High-quality immunity Dr Bijon Kumar Sil, head of the microbiology department at Gono University, said the way Omicron has spread across Bangladesh, leaving behind a high-quality natural immunity among people in the country. “So, I think Covid may not cause serious problems in the country in the days to come.” He believes Bangladesh has already attained herd immunity like many other countries in the world. Read: Dhaka, Abu Dhabi discuss bilateral issues “It’s very good quality herd immunity. Natural herd immunity is much better than vaccine-induced immunity. The American CDC is also now recognising the natural immunity gained through Omicron infection is as good as double or triple vaccinations,” the expert said. He said not only Bangladesh but also many countries in the world are going to attain natural herd immunity because of massive exposure to the Omicron variant. “As Omicron has spread rapidly all over the world, hardly anyone will remain without a natural antibody with the ebbing of its wave.” Dr Bijon thinks over 80 percent of people in Bangladesh have already been infected by Omicron, while over 70 percent have already received the first dose of vaccines. “So, the new variant in the future is unlikely to cause any big problem in terms of severity of the illness.” Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed, former director (disease control) of DGHS, said Omicron worked as a natural vaccine as most people of the country were infected by it. “So, we’ve already gained the herd immunity against the Covid virus.” He said the new normal life will not be affected and people may not suffer much from the Covid if any new variant does not come that can dodge the existing immunity of people. Going to be like flu Dr Bijon is hopeful that Covid-19 will become like a flu in the near future, but it will not be eliminated from the world. “If a new variant emerges in the coming days, it may infect people with symptoms like many other remaining flues.” He, however, said new variants are likely to be a matter of concern for the people who are immunocompromised.
The coronavirus mutant widely known as “stealth omicron” is now causing more than a third of new omicron cases around the world, but scientists still don’t know how it could affect the future of the pandemic. Researchers are slowly revealing clues about the strain, a descendant of omicron known as BA.2, while warily watching it become ever more prevalent. “We’re all keeping an eye on BA.2 just because it has done particularly well in some parts of the world,” including parts of Asia, Africa and Europe, said Dr. Wesley Long, a pathologist at Houston Methodist in Texas. This week, a technical advisory group for the World Health Organization advised public health authorities to monitor it as a distinct omicron strain. Early research suggests it spreads faster than the original omicron and in rare cases can sicken people even if they’ve already had an omicron infection. There’s mixed research on whether it causes more severe disease, but vaccines appear just as effective against it. Overall cases are falling in some places where the variant is becoming more prevalent, offering some hope that the latest troubling version of the virus won’t send cases skyrocketing again as experts try to learn more. WORLDWIDE SPREAD BA.2 has been found in more than 80 countries and all 50 U.S. states. In a recent report, the WHO said BA.2 was dominant in 18 countries and it represented about 36% of sequenced omicron cases submitted in the most recent week to a publicly available international database where scientists share coronavirus data. That’s up from 19% two weeks earlier. Read: Why Putin uses WWII to justify attacks in Ukraine In the United States, BA.2 caused about 4% of COVID cases during the week ending Feb. 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The percentage was lower in some regions and higher in others – hitting about 7% in New England. WHAT’S KNOWN BA.2 has lots of mutations. It’s been dubbed “stealth” because it lacks a genetic quirk of the original omicron that allowed health officials to rapidly differentiate it from delta using a certain PCR test. So while the test can detect a BA.2 infection, it looks like a delta infection. Initial research suggests BA.2 is more transmissible than the original omicron — about 30% more contagious by one estimate. But vaccines can protect people from getting sick. Scientists in the United Kingdom found that they provide the same level of protection from both types of omicron. A bout with the original omicron also seems to provide “strong protection” against reinfection with BA.2, according to early studies cited by the WHO. ADVERTISEMENT But getting BA.2 after infection from the original omicron strain is possible, says new research out of Denmark. Study authors noted 187 total reinfections, including 47 with BA.2 occurring shortly after a bout the original strain, mostly in young, unvaccinated people with mild disease. They concluded that such reinfections do occur but are rare. Like other early studies on BA.2, this one has been posted online but not reviewed by independent scientists. DOES BA.2 MAKE YOU SICKER? A Japanese lab study suggests that it could, based on experiments with hamsters. Researchers concluded that the risk for global health “is potentially higher” from BA.2 and proposed that it be given its own Greek letter – a designation for globally significant “variants of concern.” WHO’s technical group said BA.2 should remain under the omicron umbrella. Though the severity experiments were conducted in animals, the study is “not something to discount,” said Dr. Eric Topol of Scripps Research Translational Institute. “We should keep an open mind and keep assessing this.” But scientists are finding something different when they look at people. An initial analysis in Denmark showed no differences in hospitalizations for BA.2 compared with the original omicron, which tends to generally cause milder disease than the delta variant. More recently, researchers in South Africa found much the same: a similar risk of hospitalization and severe disease with the original omicron variant and BA.2. “We always have to interpret studies in animals with caution,” Long said. “I place more weight in studies of actual patients and what they’re experiencing.” HOW WILL BA.2 AFFECT THE PANDEMIC? No one knows for sure. COVID-19 cases are dropping globally, including in some of the places where BA.2 is prevalent. “The timing of the upswings and downswings in cases remains unclear,” said Louis Mansky, director of the Institute for Molecular Virology at the University of Minnesota. It’s difficult for researchers to predict how much BA.2 will change caseloads because it is spreading in communities with varying levels of protection from vaccines and prior infections. Some experts believe BA.2 is unlikely to spark new surges but may slow COVID declines in some places. WHO officials stress that the pandemic isn’t over and urge countries to remain vigilant. Doctors said individuals should do the same and remember that vaccines and boosters offer excellent protection against the worst effects of COVID-19, no matter the variant. “For people who aren’t boosted, please get boosted. For people who aren’t vaccinated, it’s never too late,” Long said. “Your best defense against COVID is still the vaccine.”
The overall number of Covid cases has surpassed 415 million, with the Omicron variant’s quick spread across the globe. According to Johns Hopkins University (JHU), the total case count mounted to 415,114,723 while the death toll from the virus reached 5,836,409 Wednesday morning. The US has recorded 78,036,352 cases so far and 925,438 people have died from the virus in the country, the university data shows. India's Covid-19 tally rose to 42,692,943 on Tuesday, as 27,409 new cases were registered in 24 hours across the country, as per the federal health ministry's data. Besides, 347 deaths due to the pandemic since Monday morning took the total death toll to 509,358. Also read: Can you get long COVID after an infection with omicron? Brazil has registered 27,677,468 Covid-19 cases so far and 640,076 people have died from the deadly virus, according to JHU. The national seven-day moving average of deaths reached 885, while that of daily infections stood at 133,714. Brazil has the world's second highest Covid death toll, only after the United States, and the world's third largest caseload, following the United States and India. Covid Situation in Bangladesh Bangladesh logged 34 more Covid-linked deaths with 4,746 fresh cases in 24 hours till Tuesday morning. The daily positivity rate slightly increased to 13.77% from Monday’s 13.53% after testing 34,175 samples during the period, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). On Monday, Bangladesh reported 19 more Covid-linked deaths with 4,692 fresh cases. Also read: 88% Covid patients in Bangladesh infected with Omicron variant: BSMMU survey The fresh numbers took the country’s total fatalities to 28,872 while the caseload mounted to 1,919,102. Among the new deceased, 21 were men and 13 women. Twenty-one of the deaths were reported in Dhaka division while four in Barishal, two each in Chattogram, Khulna, Sylhet and Rangpur and one in Rajshahi division. Meanwhile, the mortality rate declined to 1.50%. However, the recovery rate slightly rose to 88.76% with the recovery of 11,417 more patients during the 24-hour period. On January 28, Bangladesh logged its earlier highest daily positivity rate at 33.37% reporting 15,440 cases and 20 deaths. On December 9 last year, Bangladesh again logged zero Covid-related death after nearly three weeks as the pandemic was apparently showing signs of easing. The country reported its first zero Covid-related death in a single day on November 20 last year along with 178 infections since the pandemic broke out in Bangladesh in March 2020. Besides, the country registered the highest daily caseload of 16,230 on July 28 last year, while the highest number of daily fatalities was 264 on August 10 last year.
The overall number of Covid cases has surpassed 411 million, with the Omicron variant’s quick spread round the globe. According to Johns Hopkins University (JHU), the total case count mounted to 411,592,977 while the death toll from the virus reached 5,815,219 Monday morning. The US has recorded 77,735,068 cases so far and 919,640 people have died from the virus in the country, the university data shows. Read:Covid positivity rate in Bangladesh declines in a week: DGHS India's COVID-19 tally rose to 42,631,421 on Sunday, as 44,877 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours across the country, showed the federal health ministry's latest data. Besides, 684 deaths were recorded since Saturday morning, taking the death toll to 508,665. Brazil registered 54,220 COVID-19 infections and 314 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing its nationwide counts to 27,479,963 and 638,362, respectively, the National Council of Health Secretaries said Sunday. The national seven-day moving average of deaths reached 881, while that of daily infections stood at 135,279. Brazil has the world's second highest COVID-19 death toll, only after the United States, and the world's third largest caseload, following the United States and India. Situation in Bangladesh Bangladesh logged 28 more Covid-linked deaths with 4,838 fresh cases in 24 hours till Sunday morning. The daily positivity rate slightly declined to 14.85 per cent from Saturday’s 16.50 per cent after testing 32,503 samples during the period, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). Read: 88% Covid patients in Bangladesh infected with Omicron variant: BSMMU survey The fresh numbers took the country’s total fatalities to 28,819 while the caseload mounted to 1,909,664. Meanwhile, the mortality rate remained static at 1.51 per cent. However, the recovery rate slightly rose to 87.90 per cent with the recovery of 13,853 more patients during the 24-hour period.
The overall number of Covid cases has surpassed 410 million, with the Omicron variant’s rapid spread across the globe. According to Johns Hopkins University (JHU), the total case count mounted to 410, 024,095 while the death toll from the virus reached 5,809, 171 Sunday morning. The US has recorded 77,702,689 cases so far and 919,171 people have died from the virus in the country, the university data shows. India's COVID-19 tally rose to 42,586,544 on Saturday, as 50,407 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours across the country, showed the health ministry's latest data. Besides, as many as 804 deaths were recorded since Friday morning, taking the death toll to 507,981. Also read: Single-dose Sputnik Light Covid-19 vaccine gets EUA in India Situation in Bangladesh Bangladesh logged 20 more Covid-linked deaths with 5,023 fresh cases in 24 hours till Saturday morning. The daily positivity rate slightly increased to 16.50 per cent from Friday’s 15.46 per cent after testing 29,904 samples during the period, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). The fresh numbers took the country’s total fatalities to 28,791 while the caseload mounted to 1,904,826. Meanwhile, the mortality rate remained static at 1.51 per cent. Also read: Covid-19 in Bangladesh: Daily positivity rate declines, deaths hit 38 However, the recovery rate slightly rose to 87.40 per cent with the recovery of 8,821 more patients during the 24-hour period. On January 28, Bangladesh logged its earlier highest daily positivity rate at 33.37 per cent reporting 15,440 cases and 20 deaths. On December 9 last year, Bangladesh again logged zero Covid-related death after nearly three weeks as the pandemic was apparently showing signs of easing. The country reported first zero Covid-related death in a single day on November 20 last year along with 178 infections since the pandemic broke out in Bangladesh in March 2020. Besides, the country registered the highest daily caseload of 16,230 on July 28 last year, while the highest number of daily fatalities was 264 on August 10 last year.
The overall number of Covid cases has surpassed 405 million, with the Omicron variant’s rapid spread across the globe. According to Johns Hopkins University (JHU), the total case count mounted to 405,688,274 while the death toll from the virus reached 5,788,456 Friday morning. The US has recorded 77,437,114 cases so far and 915,349 people have died from the virus in the country, the university data shows. Russian authorities on Thursday reported nearly 200,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases, in another record fuelled by the rapid spread of the Omicron variant amid a low vaccination rate and the absence of major restrictions for adults. The state coronavirus task force tallied 197,076 new infections over the past 24 hours, with 701 deaths, till Thursday. Also read: Can you get long COVID after an infection with omicron? Russia’s Covid-19 cases surged to 13,527,845 with 338,091 deaths, as per the country’s health authority India's Covid-19 tally rose to 42,534,048 on Thursday. So far, the country has reported 507,208 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data. Brazil, which has been experiencing a new wave of cases since last January, has registered 27,125,512 cases so far and 636,111 people have died from the deadly virus in the country. Situation in Bangladesh Bangladesh logged 41 more Covid-linked deaths with 7,264 fresh cases in 24 hours till Thursday morning. The daily positivity rate slightly declined further to 16.95% from Wednesday’s 18.83% after testing 42,867 samples during the period, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). On Wednesday, Bangladesh reported 33 more Covid-linked deaths with 8,016 fresh cases. The fresh numbers took the country’s total fatalities to 28,744 while the caseload mounted to 1,894,535. Among the new deceased, 27 were men and 14 women. Twenty-two of the deaths were reported in Dhaka division, six in Chattogram, five in Rajshahi, three each in Khulna and Rangpur, and one in Sylhet division. Meanwhile, the mortality rate recorded at 1.52%. Also read: 88% Covid patients in Bangladesh infected with Omicron variant: BSMMU survey However, the recovery rate slightly increased to 86.81% with the recovery of 11,064 more patients during the 24-hour period. On January 28, Bangladesh logged its earlier highest daily positivity rate at 33.37% reporting 15,440 cases and 20 deaths. On December 9 last year, Bangladesh again logged zero Covid-related death after nearly three weeks as the pandemic was apparently showing signs of easing. The country reported first zero Covid-related death in a single day on November 20 last year along with 178 infections since the pandemic broke out in Bangladesh in March 2020. Besides, the country registered the highest daily caseload of 16,230 on July 28 last year, while the highest number of daily fatalities was 264 on August 10 last year.
Eighty-eight per cent of the total Covid-19 patients of the country were infected with Omicron variant while 12 per cent with Delta during June 29, 2021 to February 9, 2022, says a study. Supervisor of the Genome Sequencing Research Project Professor Dr Md Sharfuddin Ahmed, Vice Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), on Thursday revealed the findings of an ongoing study at a press briefing. Nasopharyngeal samples of total 937 patients from each division of the country were collected as representative samples for genome sequencing during the period. Also read: 80% Covid patients in Bangladesh of Delta variant: BSMMU survey According to the survey findings, most of the patients were aged between 30 to 59 years, and children were also infected with the coronavirus, he said. Of the infected patients, 51 percent were women and 49 per cent men. Covid-19 patients with comorbidities like cancer, respiratory disease, heart disease and diabetes showed more severe symptoms. Patients aged above 60 are more likely to die if contracted with the virus for the second time, the study shows. The genome sequencing analysis of samples of Covif-19 patients in July, 2021, showed 98 per cent were infected with Indian Delta variant, one per cent with South African variant or Beta variant while another one per cent with Mauritius or Nigerian variant. However, the samples collected from August, 2021 to first week of December, 2021 showed 99.31 per cent were infected with the Delta variant. 80 per cent of the total Covid-19 patients in the country were infected with Delta variant while 20 per cent with Omicron during December 8, 2021-January 8, 2022, said data from the same study revealed on January 18, this year. Also read: 75% of target population fully vaccinated : Health Minister The results revealed today were from the findings of seven months and 15 days. The ongoing research of the BSMMU team aims to create a Covid-19 genome database of Bangladesh, revealing its characteristics, mutation types and its interrelation with the global Covid-19 genome data. Prof Sharfuddin Ahmed said they are hopeful of updating the results of the coming weeks soon. The survey is being conducted by a BSMMU team, led by Dr Laila Anjuman Banu, a professor of Genetics and Molecular Biology and chair of the Department of Anatomy, collecting samples of patients across the country, he said.
People across Asia prepared Monday for muted Lunar New Year celebrations amid concerns over the coronavirus and virulent omicron variant, even as increasing vaccination rates raised hopes that the Year of the Tiger might bring life back closer to normal. The Lunar New Year is the most important annual holiday in China and falls on Tuesday, Feb. 1. Each year is named after one of twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac in a repeating cycle. The Year of the Tiger follows the Year of the Ox. This will be the third new year in a row celebrated in the shadow of the pandemic. It was two days before the holiday in 2020 that China locked down Wuhan — a city of 11 million people — following the detection of the coronavirus there. Some 85% of Chinese are now fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data, and more Chinese have been traveling domestically this year, despite government warnings. Many people prepare to celebrate by buying red lanterns and other decorations for their homes, and food to mark the beginning of a new year. Also read: NYC Lunar New Year parade showcases support for China, Wuhan Still, 63-year-old retiree Huang Ping lamented as he shopped at a Beijing flower market that the new year’s “atmosphere has faded” with the closure of temples and seasonal fairs to prevent large crowds. He said he hoped for better times soon. “I wish for the epidemic to pass as early as possible and for the economy to recover as well,” he said. Another retiree, Han Guiha, said he was planning on making the best of the situation. “I’ll stay at home enjoying good food and wine,” the 62-year-old said. “I will make my house clean and beautiful. Right now the virus is spreading and we need to be careful.” Some 260 million people traveled in China in the first 10 days of the holiday rush starting Jan. 17 — fewer than before the pandemic but up 46% over last year. Overall, the government forecasts 1.2 billion trips during the holiday season, up 36% from a year ago. This year the celebrations coincide with the Beijing Winter Olympics, which open near the end of the weeklong holiday. The Chinese capital has been tightening controls to contain coronavirus outbreaks ahead of the sporting event. The Games are being held inside sealed-off “bubbles,” and organizers have announced that no tickets will be sold to the general public and only selected spectators will be allowed. “I’ll watch the games with my kid, but of course on TV,” said Wang Zhuo, a retail manager from Beijing. In Hong Kong, which saw a surge in cases in January, people wore surgical masks as they shopped for red and tiger-themed holiday items. The city has closed schools because of the outbreaks and required restaurants to close at 6 p.m., forcing many to dine at home for traditional New Year’s Eve family dinners. Also read: Pandemic dampens Pahela Boishakh celebrations in Bangladesh With the Year of the Tiger, many are hoping the traditional powers attributed to the animal will help put the country on a path out of the pandemic, said Chen Lianshan, a Beijing university expert on Chinese folklore. “The tiger is a protection against evil spirits and it can defeat demons and ghosts of all kinds, and the Chinese believe that the plague is one kind of an evil spirit,” he said. Elsewhere in Asia, there were signs that celebrations might not be as subdued as they were last year. Despite ongoing pandemic restrictions, most people are now vaccinated with at least two shots in many of the region’s countries. In the old quarter of Hanoi, people flocked on the weekend to the traditional market to get decorations and flowers for the festival, known as Tet in Vietnam. Vietnam’s daily case count remains at about 15,000 new infections but its low hospitalization and death rate has allowed the country to reopen for business and cautiously resume social activities. More than 70% of Vietnamese are fully vaccinated, and 80% have had at least one shot, according to Our World in Data. Still, the country has cancelled Tet fireworks and other large events to minimize risks this year. In Thailand, where 69% of people are fully vaccinated, Bangkok decided this year not to hold traditional Lunar New Year celebrations in Chinatown for the second year in a row, but was going ahead with lighting seasonal lanterns on the district’s main street. In Singapore, Lunar New Year celebrations are more subdued due to coronavirus restrictions that allow residents to receive only five unique visitors a day, and preferably only one visit daily. The rules are likely to get in the way of the tradition of visiting relatives during the holiday. “This year it will be rather quiet, as people are spacing out visiting over the next two weeks instead of on the first or second day of the new year,” said Sebastian Lim, a Singapore resident. Business was brisk at a flower market in the Taiwanese capital of Taipei on Monday as people made last minute purchases. Some 73% of Taiwanese are fully vaccinated. “The pandemic is surely affecting it a bit, but people still like flowers, so they come out and buy flowers,” said one shopkeeper, who only gave his name as Lee. “But prices are lower because we have overproduction and we can’t export some items — this is our biggest problem.” Ethnic Chinese shopkeepers in Myanmar face a bigger dilemma, as the new year coincides with the one-year anniversary of the military’s seizure of power from the democratically-elected government. Supporters of the growing anti-military movement have called for people to close their shops and businesses in a nationwide “silent strike” protest. Military leaders have warned that anyone who participates could face legal action, including charges of violating the country’s counter-terrorism law. But that has left shopkeepers who had planned to close anyway for the Lunar New Year to spend time with their families wondering what to do. “Normally we are closed during Chinese new year, but don’t know what to do this year,” said Hu, a noodle vendor in Yangon who wouldn’t give his full name out of fear of reprisal. “We want to close, but we have to be afraid of the authorities.”
The overall number of Covid cases has surpassed 327 million, with a spike in cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus across the world. According to Johns Hopkins University (JHU), the total case count mounted to 327,729,989 while the death toll from the virus reached 5,539,067 Monday morning. The US has recorded 65,698,495 cases so far and 850,605 people have died from the virus in the country, the university data shows. Read: Omicron exposes inflexibility of Europe's public hospitals India's COVID-19 tally rose to 37,122,164 on Sunday, as 271,202 new cases were registered during the past 24 hours across the country, showed the federal health ministry's latest data. This is the fourth consecutive day in India with more than 200,000 new cases registered in a day. Besides, as many as 314 deaths due to the pandemic since Saturday morning took the total death toll to 486,066. Meanwhile, the country's Omicron cases have reached 7,743, with an increase of 28.17 percent since Saturday. Brazil, which has been experiencing a new wave of cases since last January, registered 23,015,128 cases as of Friday while its Covid death toll rose to 621,327. Situation in Bangladesh Bangladesh logged eight more Covid-linked deaths with 5,222 more infections in 24 hours till Sunday morning. With the fresh cases reported after testing 29,642 samples, the daily positivity rate increased to 17.82 per cent from Saturday’s 14.35 per cent during the period, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS). The country last logged 5,249 cases and 114 deaths on August 24, last year with a positivity rate at 15.12 per cent in 24 hours. Bangladesh is currently seeing a surge of Covid-19 cases as health authorities logged 31,802 infections in the last 15 days since January 1. The fresh numbers took the country’s total fatalities to 28,144 while the caseload mounted to 1,617,711 on Sunday. Among the new deceased, five were men and three women. Read:Omicron may be headed for a rapid drop in Britain, US Four deaths were reported in Dhaka division while three in Chattogram and another in Sylhet division. The mortality rate remained static at 1.74 per cent. The recovery rate further declined to 95.99 per cent with the recovery of 293 more patients during the period.
The number of passport-holding passengers travelling to and from India through the Benapole land port has declined significantly for various reasons, including strict precautionary measures taken to contain the spread of the new variant of coronavirus Omicron. Bangladeshi passengers said an alarming spike in Covid cases in the neighbouring country, two times Covid test for passengers and hassles caused by brokers are the main reasons why the number of travellers is declining. Those who need to travel to India for medical, business and education purposes have been suffering a lot, they said. According to the port authorities, about 3000 passengers travelled through the land port per day on average last week, but the number of passport-holding passengers dropped to 1000 in the current week. On January 1, 375 people went to India while 709 returned from the country and on January 2, some people left the country through the port while 864 people returned home from the country. Read: All students to be vaccinated by Jan 31: Dipu Moni On January 3, the number of India-bound passengers was 491 while that of returnees was 611 and on January 4, some 442 people went to India and 639 returned. On January 5, the number of India-bound passengers was 481 while that of the returnees was 597. Port sources said some 18 lakh passengers travel to and from India for different purposes every year. On March 13, 2020, India imposed restrictions on travel due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it allowed domestic flights from May, 2020, and the entry of foreigners except tourists from October. Abdul Jalil, deputy director (traffic) of Benapole port, said, “The number of passengers travelling to and from India and Bangladesh has dropped significantly. From January 1 to January 5, some 5,687 people traveled between the two countries.” Alarmed by the rising Omicron cases, India's federal government two weeks ago warned states that "the variant is three times more transmissible than the Delta" and directed them to take action to rein in its spread.