No coronavirus infections have so far been detected among those travelling to Bangladesh from China, the Directorate General of Health Services has said.
So far, samples of two patients visiting from China have been tested, but no trace of the virus has been found. They were found to be infected with the influenza B virus.
Bangladesh is on the alert for possible coronavirus infection, which has already spread to several countries across the globe.
From January 21 to 23, around 900 passengers arrived in Bangladesh on different flights from China.
"They [passengers from China] were screened at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, but none of them was found to be infected with the virus," said the Directorate General of Health Service additional director general (planning and development), Professor Dr Sanya Tahmina, on Thursday.
"The virus started spreading from a fish market in the Chinese city of Wuhan," she said while addressing a press briefing titled "Updates on Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Originated from China".
Giving more details, she said, "The pneumonia-like virus is a new type of coronavirus. It is known across the world as Novel Coronavirus, Wu Coronavirus, Wu Flu, Wu Sea Food Market Pneumonia Virus, and Wuhan Pneumonia. The World Health Organisation calls it 2019-nCoV.
"Bangladesh is ready to tackle the virus infection. At airports, a health alert card containing information about symptoms are being distributed to travellers arriving in Bangladesh from China and other countries that are home to infected patients. The latter are also being screened."
Dr Tahmina continued, "Travellers are advised to contact the CDC/IEDCR hotline numbers: 01937110011, 01937000011, 01787691372 and 01787691373 in case anyone shows viral infection symptoms. The Kurmitola General Hospital is prepared to treat coronavirus patients in isolation, if they are found in Bangladesh."
Addressing the press brief, Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research Director Prof Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora said, "We face a significant risk of Novel Coronavirus infection because Bangladeshi and Chinese nationals regularly travel between the countries for trade and tourism.
"However, we are prepared to deal with the situation," she said, adding that there is no reason to panic.
"We have a sufficient stock of coronavirus test re-agents, and sample test results for confirming infections are available within 24 hours."
So far, the total number of laboratory confirmed coronavirus cases is more than 500 across the world, including in mainland China. The virus has already spread in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the US.
At least 15 health workers have been infected and 17 people have died of the viral infection so far.