The deadly coronavirus variant which is ravaging neighbouring India, has been found in Bangladesh.
"Six people have been diagnosed with the deadly Indian variant of Covid-19 in Jashore. They all returned home from the neighbouring country recently," said Professor Nasima Sultana, additional director general of the Directorate General of Health Services, in a press briefing today afternoon.
Nasima Sultana told reporters that health authorities tested samples of eight people who had entered country through Benapole and found six of them positive for the Indian variant.
"The individuals infected with the Indian variant are now in isolation," added Dr Nasima.
Against such a backdrop, the health authorities urged all to exercise the utmost caution and prudence to stop the deadly coronavirus variant from spreading inside the country.
The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) and the Jashore University of Science and Technology (JUST), tested the samples of the India returnees.
They found two of them infected with the Indian variant, and four others with a Covid variant close to the Indian one.
However, the whole genome sequencing has not yet been completed. Details about the Covid variant will be known once it is done.
According to the health authorities, the Indian Covid variant is highly contagious. The infected persons may already have infected those who came in contact with them. If the pandemic guidelines are not followed, the variant can spread among the masses.
Though the Bangladesh government closed the border with India for 14 days, starting 26 April amid virus surge, many Bangladeshis were allowed to enter the country, subject to having a Covid-19 negative certificate. They were put in mandatory quarantine.
The World Health Organization last week said that the India variant has been found in over a dozen countries.
Public Health England said on Friday that coronavirus variant B.1.617.2, which was first identified in India, would be classified as a variant of concern due to evidence that it is more transmissible.
Coronavirus infections soared in India in a "tsunami" of disease, setting a new world record for cases over the past few weeks.
India's second wave has hit the country with such ferocity that hospitals are running out of oxygen, beds, and antiviral drugs. Many patients are being turned away due to lack of space for them.
India on Saturday registered 401,078 new cases of Covid-19, taking the caseload to over 21.8 million, according to the Union health ministry's dashboard.
As many as 4,187 people succumbed to the disease on Friday and the toll has now climbed to 238,270 with a fatality rate of 1.09%.
More than 17.9 million have recovered so far while there are 3,723,446 active cases are and account for nearly 17% of the caseload.
The Indian variant is beginning to spread beyond the country's borders. There's concern in neighbouring Nepal after a rapid rise in coronavirus cases attributed to the variant currently devastating India.
The Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, is already struggling with increased hospital admissions and resources stretched thin.