World, Health

COVID-19: Bangladesh asks travelers to self-quarantine

Passengers from 6 worst-affected countries should be self-quarantined for 14 days on arrival, says health official

SM Najmus Sakib   | 09.03.2020
COVID-19: Bangladesh asks travelers to self-quarantine

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Passengers from six countries entering Bangladesh will have to remain in isolated medical care amid the coronavirus outbreak in the South Asian country, local media reported.

Travelers coming from six countries -- China, Italy, South Korea, Singapore, Iran and Thailand -- will be checked for symptoms upon their arrival at international airports across the country, according to local daily Prothom Alo.

If signs of the virus, including fever, are visible, the person will be quarantined at a government-run hospital, or in self-quarantine at their place of stay for 14 days, said the report, citing Mohammad Shahriar Sazzad, health officer at the international airport in the capital Dhaka.

In the capital, the designated quarantine facility is the Kuwait Maitree Hospital.

Dr. Meerjady Sabrina Flora, a director at the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), however, said all passengers entering Bangladesh will be checked.

“We did not mention specific countries, but returnees will be checked and remain under a two-week quarantine if they show any virus symptoms," Flora told Anadolu Agency.

It was recommended, she added, to self-quarantine every passenger for two weeks, whereas the infected to remain under hospital supervision.

Passengers entering the country through air, land and waterways were already being screened since Jan. 21. However, after the confirmation of the virus, measures have been reinforced.

According to the IEDCR, some 511,660 passengers screened since Jan. 21, were all found to be negative.

The virus, known as COVID-19 surfaced in China last December, and was detected in Bangladesh on Friday.

Some three people -- two men and one woman -- were tested positive for the virus, the IEDCR said, adding that of the victims, two had recently returned from Italy, where the death toll jumped by 133 in a day, making a total of 366 deaths.

The total number of infections in the European country also spiked 25% to 7,375 from 5,883 -- the highest number of confirmed infections outside China.

To contain the virus, Rome has restricted the movements of more than 10 million people in the northern part of the country.

Locations affected by the lockdown include Milan and Venice, which are also subject to the closure of schools and universities and the cancellations of all public events, sports events and civil and religious ceremonies.

People who do not adhere to the restrictions, which are in place until April 3, will face up to three months in prison and a fine of €206 ($236).

The disease has spread to over 90 countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The global death toll is now over 3,800 with more than 110,000 confirmed cases, the majority being in China.

As part of the efforts to contain the outbreak, governments have closed borders and suspended land and air travel with many countries including China, Iran, Italy and South Korea.

After declaring the outbreak an international health emergency, the WHO on Feb. 28 updated the global risk assessment to "very high."

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