Spread of Indian Variant

Illegal movement thru border blamed

Special Correspondent

7 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Illegal entry and exit through different India-Bangladesh border areas have been blamed for the spread of Indian variant ‘Delta’ of coronavirus in Bangladesh.

Although all land ports, including Benapole, Darshona, Hili, Akhaura and Tamabill, have remained off, a good number of people from both the countries secretly enter and exit at the dead of night every day through different border areas.

This illegal entry and exit are spreading the Indian variant of the deadly coronavirus in Bangladesh, especially in border areas.

Although the crossing of travellers through the land ports between India and Bangladesh has been suspended, goods-carrying trucks continue to cross into Bangladesh without maintaining much health guidelines.

On average, some 2,000 trucks carrying goods enter Bangladesh every day from India, which has put areas around the land ports at a high risk of spread of the Indian variant.

However, labourers, who handle goods, are yet to be vaccinated properly, a factor which has become another reason for alarm.

Meanwhile, members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) on Sunday detained five Bangladeshis who were entering the country illegally from India through Baghadanga and Shyamkur border areas in Jhenaidah's Maheshpur upazila.

The detainees were identified as Prince Sheikh (21) of Shitalpati village in Kalia upazila of Narail; Munna Mollah (18) of the same village;  

Rakib Sheikh (16); Asma Begum (40) of Noagram; and Mukti Rani Biswas (30) of Bondhobaria village in Lohagarh upazila.

Md Nazrul Islam Khan, assistant director of BGB Maheshpur-58 Battalion, said a search operation was carried out after receiving information.

During the operation, Mukti Rani Biswas was detained from Baghadanga border on Saturday night and the rest were detained from Shyamkur border in the early hours of Sunday.

The BGB handed the arrestees over to Maheshpur Police Station and filed a case against them, Nazrul added.

A government research has recently confirmed the community transmission of the Delta variant in Bangladesh.

The Delta variant is dominating the coronavirus transmission in the country as 40 of 50 samples tested turned out to be the Indian variant.

IEDCR sources said the Indian variant is spreading in the community and people have to follow the health guidelines to reduce transmission.

Out of 16 samples collected form Chapainawabganj, 15 were Delta variant, and all seven samples from Gopalganj were the same Indian variant, the study found.

Earlier, ten people with Covid-19 positive, after returning from India, had escaped from the hospital.

The ten India returnees, who fled the Jashore General Hospital despite testing positive for Covid-19, have been apprehended later.

On April 25, Bangladesh decided to close its borders with India for the next 14 days to control the spread of the deadly virus.

“Being upsurge of coronavirus infection on different bordering areas in the country, the prime minister Sheikh Hasina has instructed to impose strict lockdown on these seven bordering districts as soon as possible to contain its outbreak”,  health minister Zahid Maleque said.

After a new strain of coronavirus from India, which is facing a massive pandemic crisis, was discovered in Chapainawabganj on May 24, local authorities imposed a strict lockdown in the area.

Similar restrictions have also been recommended for Naogaon, Natore, Satkhira, Jashore, Rajshahi, Kushtia and Khulna districts.

Local administration, civil surgeon and local representative can jointly declare lockdown in an entire district or in a particular place if Covid-19 situation turns serious there.

Cabinet Secretary Khandakar Anwarul Islam briefed journalists on Monday after the weekly Cabinet meeting.