A nurse fills a syringe with the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s Covishield vaccine at the Dhaka Medical College vaccination centre in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Feb 9, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

DHAKA – The Bangladeshi government on Wednesday gave the greenlight to a proposal of producing Chinese and Russian COVID-19 vaccines in the country.

Bangladesh’s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the proposal to produce the vaccines — China’s Sinopharm and Russia’s Sputnik V.

Shahida Akhter, a senior Cabinet Division official, said several leading Bangladeshi pharmaceutical firms in collaboration with the Chinese and Russian companies will produce the vaccines.

The decision came days after Dhaka suspended the first dosing of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine on a supply crunch.

Amid uncertainty over the timely arrival of the next COVID-19 vaccine shipment from India, the Bangladeshi government halted administering the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine across the country from Monday.

Nearly 6 million people have so far received the first dose of the vaccine in Bangladesh.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the country’s COVID-19 vaccination drive on Jan. 28 to rein in the pandemic that has so far spread to nearly every Bangladeshi district.

Bangladesh recorded 112 deaths from COVID-19 on April 19, its highest daily toll from the pandemic, the government said.

On Wednesday, the country’s Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) reported 2,955 new cases of COVID-19 and 77 new deaths, bringing the number of total cases to 754,614 and the total death toll to 11,305.

To limit the second wave of the pandemic, Bangladesh on Wednesday extended the ongoing lockdown again by one week to May 5.