the number of new infections of COVID-19 in Bangladesh

Since the latter half of June, the number of new infections of COVID-19 in Bangladesh has been sharply increasing, but the inoculation rate of COVID-19 vaccine stays low at about 6.7 percent of the population. Under such situation, the administration of vaccines is an urgent issue for the Bangladesh government.

The vaccines we provided are expected to contribute to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in Bangladesh. Japan will continue to provide various assistance in cooperation with relevant countries and international organizations towards the earliest convergence of COVID-19.

[Note] COVID-19 situation in Bangladesh

As of July 20, 1.117 million confirmed cases and 18 thousand deaths have been reported in Bangladesh. Daily confirmed cases have surged since the latter half of June due to the appearance of coronavirus variants. The number of newly confirmed cases has been at a high level of over 10 thousand since July. Approximately 11.3 million doses of vaccine have been administrated in Bangladesh, and only about 6.7 percent of the population has completed the vaccinations. This grant of vaccines is a response to the urgent situation where there remain those without any prospects of receiving the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Assessing individuals’ knowledge and preventive behaviors towards the Coronavirus Disease of 2019 (COVID-19) is essential for the related public health surveillance strategies. Although some of the studies were conducted in Bangladesh, none of these studies considered the geographical distribution of knowledge and preventive behaviors towards COVID-19. Therefore, the present nationwide cross-sectional study with 10,067 samples for the first-time aims to assess the knowledge gap by presenting the geographical distribution of the COVID-19 knowledge and preventive behaviors across all administrative districts of Bangladesh. The measures included socio-demographics and questions about knowledge and preventive behaviors related to COVID-19. One-way ANOVA, independent t-test, and multiple linear regression were used to analyze the data. In addition, GIS-based mapping identified district-wise distribution of the outcomes. Results indicated that the overall mean score of knowledge related to COVID-19 was 14.363 ± 3.073, whereas 16.95 ± 2.89 was for preventive behaviors. Participants’ being male, being divorced or widowed, consuming alcohol, smoking cigarettes, living in villages, and having no formal education reported lower performing preventive COVID-19 behaviors. Those participants with higher knowledge scores reported higher preventive COVID-19 behaviors (β = 0.053, p<0.001). However, the model predicted only 13.2% of the variation in preventive COVID-19 behaviors while the overall model being significant. The findings suggest that the Bangladeshi government should initiate appropriate far-reaching program of health education focusing on knowledge and preventive behaviors towards COVID-19 at a community level. After all, the strategies to combat COVID-19 will require individuals’ involvement to control and prevent the disease outbreak, for which education is essential.
The Government of Japan has decided to provide approximately 3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines manufactured in Japan, through the COVAX facility, to Bangladesh, as part of assistance by Japan to contribute to the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 in Bangladesh. On July 23, approximately 250 thousand doses of those will be airlifted from Japan to Bangladesh.

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