Fifteen to 20 per cent of the coronavirus patients in Bangladesh now have been infected with the omicron variant, Health Minister Zahid Maleque has said.
The data suggests community transmission of the highly contagious variant is ongoing in the country, he said while speaking to reporters after an event in Dhaka on Wednesday, reports bdnews24.com.
“The rate of increase in infections indicates that community transmission of omicron has happened to some extent. Statistics show that 15 to 20 per cent of the patients are infected with omicron. So, I think community transmission has begun,” he said.
The COVID-19 caseload in Bangladesh is increasing fast for quite a few days. Nearly 3,000 new cases were reported in the daily count on Wednesday, with the positivity rate close to 12 per cent.
Bangladesh confirmed the first omicron cases in the second week of December in two women cricketers after their return from Zimbabwe.
According to the Global Initiative on Sharing Influenza Data, 30 more omicron cases were detected in Bangladesh until now – all in Dhaka.
On Wednesday, it reported three more cases of the variant in Jashore, for the first time outside the capital. The Jashore University of Science and Technology submitted the data after sequencing the genome of the samples from the patients.
Two of them are Indian and the third is Bangladeshi. Dr Md Iqbal Kabir Jahid, associate director of the university’s Genome Centre, said the Bangladeshi patient has no overseas travel history.
“The patient did not come into contact with a traveller from abroad. So, we assume that it was from community transmission.”
The Indians tested positive while returning home.
Chief scientific officer at the government’s disease control agency IEDCR, Dr ASM Alamgir had earlier said they had sequenced genomes of coronavirus patients who arrived from abroad. Samples from their close contacts were also tested for omicron. The variant was detected in some of them.