Dhaka: India on Wednesday donated 30,000 COVID-19 test kits to Bangladesh as part of its emergency medical assistance to the neighbouring country which has reported 11,719 coronavirus cases and 186 fatalities.
"This assistance which is covered under the SAARC COVID-19 Emergency Fund is intended to support the efforts of Government of Bangladesh in tackling the spread of coronavirus," the Indian High Commission in Dhaka said in a statement.
Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguly Das handed over the kits to Bangladesh's Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen at his office, saying these domestically produced kits were widely used in India for COVID-19 detection.
According to the statement, Das said Bangladesh was the first country to receive these test kits from India on priority, "which reflects the importance of Dhaka to New Delhi".
Momen appreciated India's help for the three tranches of assistance.
An Indigo cargo flight transported the supply to be dispatched to Bangladesh's Institute of Epidemiological Disease Control and Research (IEDCR). Dhaka received the first tranche of the Indian emergency medical assistance containing 30,000 surgical masks and 15,000 caps on March 25.
The second Indian consignment consisted of 50,000 sterile surgical latex gloves and 1,00,000 Hydroxychloroquine medicine tablets.
The Indian gesture came as Prime Minister Narendra Modi ensured his country's readiness to help Bangladesh in containing the spread of COVID-19 and in mitigating health and economic impact of the pandemic.
In a video conference on forming a joint strategy to fight COVID-19 in the SAARC region, Prime Minister Modi on March 15 proposed the emergency fund with an initial offer of USD 10 million from India and asserted that the best way to deal with the coronavirus pandemic was by coming together, and not growing apart.
Bangladesh's foreign ministry said in a statement that Momen thanked India for the medical supplies as well as assistance in returning Bangladeshi nationals stranded in India.
He also urged India to take steps to allow goods-laden Bangladesh-bound trucks stranded in Petrapole land border to cross the frontier, saying the delay would result in huge loss to Bangladeshi importers.
Meanwhile, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Additional Director General (administration) Nasima Sultana said that three people died with coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, taking the toll to 186.
The confirmed cases have jumped to 11,719, as the country recorded the highest single-day jump with 790 more people testing positive in the last 24 hours, she said.
On March 8, the health authorities in Bangladesh reported the first case of COVID-19, a severe acute respiratory illness caused by a new strain of coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.