Bangladesh extends border lockdown with India
South Asian country faces difficulties in mass vaccination program amid shortage of Covid-19 jabs
Bangladesh on Saturday extended the suspension of passenger movement through land borders with neighbouring India for eight more days until May 31 amid surging infections in the South Asian country.
On April 26, Bangladesh had suspended land links with India to contain the spread of the Indian variant of Covid-19, according to an official statement.
However, goods transports have been allowed with strengthened safety measures, according to an official notification of the Bangladesh Assistant High Commission in the Indian state of Tripura on Saturday.
"Bangladesh citizens now stranded in India [and] who want to return to the country will have to submit a Covid-19 negative certificate with QR code to obtain a no-objection certificate from Bangladesh missions in New Delhi, Kolkata, and Agartala," the notification read.
Some 3,350 Bangladeshis returned from India through the Benapole border gate since April 26. Seventeen among them have tested positive for Covid-19 as of Saturday.
The returnees will be allowed to go to their homes only after a 14-day quarantine and after testing negative for the coronavirus, according to the government instructions.
Covid situation in Bangladesh
With a population of 165 million, Bangladesh registered 38 more deaths and 1,028 infections in the last 24 hours, raising total deaths to 12,348 and infections to 787,726, according to the country's Health Ministry on Saturday.
Bangladesh has been facing difficulties in conducting its mass vaccination program due to the shortage of doses, the country's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said.
Bangladesh requested India resume commercial shipments of coronavirus vaccines under the tripartite agreement immediately.
Dhaka had earlier signed a deal with India to purchase 30 million doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured by the Serum Institute of India.
As of yet, it has only received 7 million doses in two instalments, though India has separately gifted 3.2 million doses.
According to the ministry, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has also requested the US, UK and Canada provide the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine on an emergency basis.