Bangladesh has confirmed the existence of a new coronavirus variant which can be similar to that of the United Kingdom.
The principal scientific officer of Bangladesh Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (BCSIR) Dr Md Salim Khan said, “During genome sequencing on samples early November, we understood that the new variant we found was nearly similar to the variant found in the UK and Peru.”
He, however, could not confirm if the present mutation of the virus in Bangladesh is as infectious as the UK variant.
“It can be confirmed only after completing the genome sequencing at our lab,” he added.
According to him, travellers from the UK have been a major source of virus transmission to Bangladesh.
The United Kingdom on Tuesday said a record number of new infections as a mutated variant of the coronavirus could be up to 70% more transmissible than the original.
The authorities also said it caused the number of cases and hospital admissions to soar.
World Health Organization said the UK strain has also been detected in small numbers in Australia, Denmark and the Netherlands. Another variant with similar genetic mutations has been linked to widespread transmission in South Africa.
As many as 30 countries shut their borders to people travelling from Britain or South Africa to stop any further spread.
Bangladesh health minister Zahid Maleque said that all possible measures were being taken so that the new variant of coronavirus did not enter the country.
He also announced that passengers arriving from the UK would be institutionally quarantined for seven days when it is usually three days for passengers from other countries. The minister also said that passengers from the UK would be provided with separate lines and counters for immigration as “Bangladesh doesn’t want a new strain of the pathogen to spread in the country.