The highly infectious Indian COVID-19 variant has been detected in Bangladesh despite a total closure of borders between the two South Asian countries, officials said on Saturday.
“The Indian variant was detected in six persons, with two confirmed cases and four ‘very close cases’, who recently returned from India to Bangladesh through our Benapole Land Port," Nasima Sultana, a senior health official told Anadolu Agency.
"We conducted a genome sequence of samples collected from eight persons," she said.
According to the World Health Organization, the Indian B.1.617 variant was first detected in India last December. This variant could have mutations that make COVID-19 easier to spread, causing more severe disease and weakening vaccine immunity.
The Bangladesh government has already sealed its border with India since last month amid a surge in cases.
Bangladesh's tally of infections has reached 772,127 with 11,887 deaths. Authorities have announced a nationwide lockdown until May 16 to cover the Eid ul-Fitr holiday as the country battles the third wave of the deadly virus.