Some good news comes along
The authorities have been struggling with the Delta variant of Covid-19 sweeping across the country and the DGHS has been coming up with grim data every day. But yesterday Bangladesh finally got some good news.
Bangladesh is expected to receive a good number of vaccines from Japan, ventilators from the US, and oxygen from India.
Bangladesh yesterday received 2.5 lakh Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines from Japan under the COVAX facility.
On Friday, 5 lakh doses of the vaccine are expected to reach Dhaka from the same country.
In total, Japan is expected to supply 30 lakh doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to Bangladesh.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ito Naoki Ito received the first consignment of the vaccines at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport around 3:00pm yesterday.
Thanking Japan, Momen said, "We thank Japan and are grateful to them. Japan is our old friend. After the independence, Japan has always been beside Bangladesh. Japan does not impose conditionality while helping."
In a message sent to Japan's Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu, he acknowledged and appreciated the continued assistance of Japan in facing the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh.
He also mentioned Japan's direct budgetary support separately.
Foreign Minister lauded Japanese Prime Minister Suga's leadership in hosting the Vaccine Summit on June 2 and committing vaccines and funds to combat the pandemic.
"As we prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relationship between our two friendly countries in 2022, both the countries are now working to upgrade Bangladesh-Japan relationship from a 'Comprehensive Partnership' to the 'Strategic Partnership' level," Momen said.
Momen further said that Bangladesh has lined up vaccines after a gap and there will not be a vaccine shortage in the coming months.
However, it is now time that Bangladesh goes for local production of vaccines. Bangladesh was in talks with China and Russia for co-production, which he said, would be finalised at the soonest.
Some 16 lakh Bangladeshis who got the first doses of the vaccine were waiting for the second dose as India halted the export of AstraZeneca vaccines in March this year.
The Serum Institute of India had supplied 7 million of the contracted 30 million AstraZeneca vaccines, while the Indian government had gifted 3.3 million others to Bangladesh previously.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh received 250 ventilators from the US, completely free of cost.
The ventilators, which had arrived in India earlier, were transported to Dhaka last night.
Some Bangladeshi and Indian doctors have arranged 1,000 ventilators from the US.
Of those, 250 were sent to Bangladesh by the Biman Bangladesh Airlines, an official at the Bangladesh High Commission in Delhi told this correspondent.
Another 150 ventilators were sent to Bangladesh earlier.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's physician Prof ABM Abdullah, who received the ventilators at Shahjalal International Airport, said, "Each of these ventilators would have cost $15,000 to $16,000, but thanks to the Bangladeshi and Indian doctors, we are getting it for free."
These ventilators can be used in rural areas for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. These will be of great help during the current situation, he added.
The Bangladeshi expatriate doctors who helped the country get the ventilators are Ziauddin Ahmed, Masudul Hasan, Chowdhury Hafiz Hasan, Mahmudur Shams Bappi, and Arifur Rahman, said Prof Abdullah at a short briefing at the airport.
He also expressed gratitude to them for their efforts.
Meanwhile, Indian Railways' Oxygen Express began supplying the much-needed oxygen to Bangladesh, according to a statement of the Press Information Bureau of India yesterday.
Yesterday, an indent was placed at Tata in Chakradharpur Division under South Eastern Railway to transport 200 metric tonnes of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) to Benapole, Bangladesh.
"The oxygen being sent to Bangladesh is commercially procured, but using Oxygen Express to transport it to Bangladesh can be quick and smooth," said an official of the Bangladesh High Commission to India.
Linde Bangladesh was importing 200 MT oxygen by Oxygen Express.