• Monday, Dec 05, 2022
  • Last Update : 09:54 am

Health Minister: UK passengers to be quarantined for 7 days

  • Published at 07:12 am December 23rd, 2020
File photo: Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque addresses the press at Dhaka's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Friday, January 31, 2020 <strong>Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune</strong>
File photo shows Health Minister Zahid Maleque addressing the media Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

Govt yet to decide on suspension or otherwise of flights from the UK

Despite several countries suspending air communications with Britain following the emergence of a new and more infectious variant of Covid-19 in the country, Bangladesh is still undecided on whether or not it will take a similar step.

According to UK scientists, the new variant of Sars-CoV-2 is 70% more transmissible than the one it generated from.

However, in the wake of this development, Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Wednesday said that passengers arriving from the UK would be institutionally quarantined for seven days when it is usually three days for passengers from other countries.

After the quarantine, they will undergo Covid-19 tests, stated the minister while speaking as the chief guest at the "Inauguration of Gene Expert Machine and Mobile Laboratory" at Ashkona Hajj Camp in Dhaka.

The minister also said that passengers from the UK would be provided with separate lines and counters for immigration as “Bangladesh doesn’t want a new strain of the pathogen to spread in the country.”

“Following the end of institutional quarantine [of passengers from the UK], necessary tests on them will be conducted under government management. They will only be released if found negative for the virus,” he added.

“All of them will also have to complete home quarantine,” said the minister. 

When asked about Bangladesh imposing a ban on flights from the UK, Maleque said: “At least 40 countries have cut off communications with the UK. We are discussing with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other ministries about the issue.


Also read - News Analysis: Why delay the decision on UK flights?


“The government will observe the situation before it makes a decision, which will soon be announced.”

“However, there is no plan for a lockdown as the situation is not like that,” he added.

Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, Dr Shahriar Sazzad, Assistant Director of DGHS at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA), said that the authorities had on Tuesday night received directives over the measures to be taken and had already begun the procedure.

“Not only passengers from the UK but also those coming from other European countries or transiting through the UK will be screened for the virus,” he stated. 

“Seven days' of institutional quarantine will be mandatory for people coming to Bangladesh without Covid-19 negative certificates,” he said, adding, “but those arriving with negative certificates will be instructed to be in home quarantine for 15 days.”

On December 19, the World Health Organization said it was in close contact with UK officials over a new Covid-19 virus variant.

"They'll [UK officials] continue to share info and results of their analysis & ongoing studies. We'll update the Member States & public as we learn more about the characteristics of this virus variant & any implications,” WHO said in a tweet.

First mobile Covid-19 testing facility launched

All possible measures were being taken so that the new variant of coronavirus did not enter the country, said the health minister while inaugurating the country’s first mobile Covid-19 testing facility.

He said: “The new mobile Covid-19 testing lab is easier to operate and will also provide online reports.” 

“We have ensured enough quantity of oxygen supply along with other facilities for patients. 

“We are even importing oxygen from India as one of the plants in the country is going out of order. Such initiatives for capacity building will continue,” Maleque added.

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