NTAC for travel ban, institutional quarantine

The National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 on Sunday recommended the government enforcing a travel ban on all incoming passengers from the countries, where new coronavirus variant Omicron had been detected.

The committee suggested making institutional quarantine mandatory for 14 days for people with travel histories in the countries within 14 days of arrival.

The NTAC also recommended strengthening Covid screening at all air, land and seaports to detect potential carriers of the variant. 

NTAC prepared the recommendations in a meeting presided over by its convenor Prof Mohammad Shahidullah. 

People, who would be found infected with Covid, should stay in isolation until found negative in a subsequent test, NTAC member Prof M Nazrul Islam, also a former vice chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, told New Age.

The 17-member national body also recommended strongly enforcing social safety measures, strengthening treatment mechanisms and imposing restrictions on rallies – political, social and religious – across the country.

The NTAC also recommended conducting Covid tests free of cost for encouraging people to undergo the tests.

The government is likely to make decisions based on the recommendations of the NTAC and other bodies in an inter-ministerial meeting on Monday, according to a health ministry official.

The NTAC made the recommendations keeping in considerations that the World Health Organisation (WHO) already declared Omicron as a ‘variant of concern’ and several countries in Asia and Europe imposed a ban on travel from countries with the presence of the variant.

Health minister Zahid Maleque, who was on the way to Geneva for joining a meeting of WHO, returned home on Saturday night cancelling his tour midway in Dubai for the next steps on the pandemic situation, according to an official.

Prof Nazmul Islam, a director at the Directorate General of Health Services, said on Sunday that all entry ports of the countries were already instructed to bring the incoming passengers from the countries, where the Omicron variant has already been detected, to screening. 

The DGHS on Sunday reported three more deaths from Covid-19 and 205 new Covid cases.

The fresh positive cases account for 1.03 per cent of 19,811 samples tested in the 24 hours till 8:00am on the day, according to the daily Covid report of the health directorate.

With the latest statistics, the total death toll hits 27,978 and infections to 15,75,784 since the country recorded the first Covid infection on March 8, 2020, and death from the viral disease on March 18, 2020.

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