A top health official in Bangladesh on Saturday said that the country has detected six people, who had recently visited India, infected with the Indian variant of the COVID-19, news agency PTI reported.
All of them were exposed to the variant, also known as B.1.617, as they recently visited India and are currently kept under quarantine. Out of the six people, two were detected in the national capital Dhaka
Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) spokesman Professor Dr Nazmul Islam Munna said the cases were detected by health officials overnight.
“Six people have been found to be carrying the Indian variant so far and we expect more people to be detected with identical types of virus in the coming days,” Munna told PTI.
“This development means we in Bangladesh need extreme caution, perfect compliance of health guidelines . . . If we maintain the guidelines, no variant — deadly or not — can cause major problems,” Munna said.
Last month, Bangladesh sealed its borders with India due to the raging number of coronavirus cases in the neighbouring country.
But officials and reports said many people came to Bangladesh from India under special arrangements and some of them fled a mandatory quarantine, heightening risks of spreading the pandemic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) described the Indian variant as a “variant of interest,” suggesting it may have mutations that would make the virus more transmissible, cause more severe disease or evade vaccine immunity.
Bangladesh reported 45 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of fatalities to 11,878. The total number of COVID-19 cases in the country stands at 772,127 with 1,285 fresh infections reported on Saturday.