World, Asia - Pacific

Omicron dominates new COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh

Highly contagious variant accounts for 69% of cases in Dhaka; infection, deaths on uptrend with almost 21% positivity rate

SM Najmus Sakib   | 17.01.2022
Omicron dominates new COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh

DHAKA, Bangladesh

The omicron variant dominates the new upward trend in coronavirus infections in Bangladesh, the government said on Monday.

“As much as 69% of new COVID-19 infections in Dhaka are the omicron variant,” Bangladeshi Health Minister Zahid Maleque said at a media briefing in the capital city.

For comparison, the omicron cases accounted for 13% of new cases in Dhaka some 10 days ago, and they are increasing rapidly, the minister added, citing genome sequencing data by the government health agency.

“The infection is spreading fast, daily positivity rate has reached 20.88%,” ABM Khurshid Alam, head of the Directorate General of Bangladeshi Health Services, said at an online news conference on Monday.

His remarks were based on the studies conducted by the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research, which included genome sequencing.

“Some 80% of COVID-19 deaths in Bangladesh were unvaccinated people,” Alam said, urging people to receive their jabs.

He also said the government lowered the age limit for the booster shot to 50 years, while frontliners can get it regardless of their age.

COVID-19 cases on sharp rise

The South Asian country on Monday reported 6,676 new infections, up 1,454 from Sunday, according to official data. It registered 10 deaths over the past 24 hours.

It recorded 22 new cases of the highly contagious omicron variant, raising the total to 55.

The nationwide COVID-19 caseload stands at 1.6 million, while the death toll from coronavirus is over 28,150.

“We have given 700,000 booster shots during a regular vaccination drive. However, the number of people infected with omicron and delta variants are growing by leaps and bounds," the health minister said, warning that the positivity rate could reach 30% soon if the rising trend continues.

About 93 million vaccine doses remain in stock and there will be no vaccine shortage, Maleque added. Bangladesh has been able to fully vaccinate over 32.5% of its total population as of Thursday, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data.

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