The daily death toll from Covid-19 took an upward turn on Saturday as 67 more fatalities were reported in the last 24 hours, the highest number of deaths in 49 days.
The highest number of 24 deaths were reported in Khulna division, while 14 of the deceased were from Dhaka, 11 from Chattogram, eight each from Rajshahi and Rangpur, and one each from Mymensingh and Sylhet divisions.
A number of 3,057 more people newly contracted the virus, taking the total caseload to 848,027. The positivity rate also remained high during the preceding 24 hours with 18.02% infections recorded in the country.
Among the latest day's victims, 34 were men, and 33 were women. Of the victims, 65 died in different hospitals across the country while three died at home.
The second phase of the mass Covid-19 vaccination programme across the country started on Saturday with the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine.
Sinopharm jabs are being given at one designated centre in each district of the country. A number of 4,320 persons were vaccinated across the country with Sinopharm vaccines on Saturday.
Meanwhile, four medical colleges in the capital are conducting the inoculation drive. They are Dhaka Medical College Hospital, Sir Salimullah Medical College Hospital, Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital and Mugda Medical College Hospital.
On Saturday, only medical and dental college students were vaccinated on a priority basis at the centres in Dhaka.
"Covid-19 vaccination started at 9am today," Dr Asim Kumar Nath, director of Mugda Medical College Hospital, told The Business Standard, adding that the daily target of the hospital is to vaccinate 400 people.
He said, "Thirty-five final year students of Mugda Medical College vaccinated on the first day. However, from tomorrow students of private medical colleges will also be vaccinated at our centre."
"Even though the general people may get the shots from various centres at the district level, we do not have any such instructions yet. Therefore, only medical, dental college students and technologists will be vaccinated until the government provides further directives regarding others," he added.
According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), people under ten categories will be given priority during the second phase. These people include - Chinese citizens living in Bangladesh, government health workers, members of law enforcement agencies, medical, dental and nursing college students, people who have already registered, and Bangladeshi migrant workers who have been approved by the Manpower Development Bureau to go abroad.
Apart from them, officials and employees involved with selected government projects, the cleaners of two city corporations of Dhaka Metropolitan, and people involved in the funeral of Covid-19 victims will get the Sinopharm vaccine.
With the latest figure, the total death toll reached 13,466 in the country, according to the data provided by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
However, the death rate remained unchanged at 1.59%.
Also, 16,963 samples were tested in 528 labs across the country.
Experimental application of the Pfizer vaccine begins Monday
Pfizer vaccine will be given experimentally at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University from next Monday. Among those who did not receive the vaccine even after registration, 120 will be given the Pfizer vaccine on a trial basis, said Professor Sharfuddin Ahmed, vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University.
Ahmed said 120 persons who registered with our centre but have not yet received the vaccine will be vaccinated on priority basis. Every one of them will be monitored for seven days to see the side effects after the vaccine is given on Monday.
"After that the Pfizer vaccine will then be given at Sheikh Russell National Gastroliver Institute and Hospital, National Ophthalmology Institute and Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Hospital," he said, adding that this vaccine will not be given outside Dhaka due to cold chain problem.
On 31 May, a consignment of 1,00,620 doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine reached Dhaka, via the international vaccine alliance Gavi under its worldwide vaccination initiative Covax.