DHAKA, Bangladesh 

Bangladeshi President Abdul Hamid on Wednesday took his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, as the nationwide vaccination campaign continued in the country, government officials said.

Hamid was vaccinated at his official residence in the capital Dhaka in the presence of high-level government officials, according to his Press Secretary Joynal Abedin.

On March 4, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at her official residence.

Bangladesh launched a nationwide vaccination drive on Feb. 7 with the aim of vaccinating 130 million people for free.

As many as 4.1 million people have taken the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India as of Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Meanwhile, the country has seen a sharp increase in coronavirus infections in recent weeks.

The prime minister during a meeting with government officials on Tuesday directed to take stronger measures to combat the virus spread.

The South Asian country of 165 million population reported 1,018 new cases on Wednesday, the highest single-day rise in two months, bringing the total number of infections to 553,105, according to health authorities.

Seven more died in the last 24 hours, taking the death toll to 8,496, the DGHS added.​​​​​​​

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