- Discourage people to return from South African countries
- Tightening health measures at border entry points
- 14 days institutional quarantine for returnees from Omicron-infected countries
- Time limit of Covid-19 testing before flight to be reduced
- Mobile courts to ensure health guidelines
- Local administrations not to allow any kind of gatherings
- Classes in schools and colleges to continue
Bangladesh government has announced to adopt a "no vaccine, no service" strategy as it is gearing up for preventing the new Omicron variant of coronavirus.
"The decision has been taken as many people are not showing interest to get vaccinated against the Covid-19," Health Minister Zahid Maleque said after an inter-ministerial meeting over Omicron.
The health ministry will send letters to the other ministries, government offices and public offices to implement the "no vaccine, no service" policy, added the minister.
The health minister said, "Directions have been given to increase monitoring at the border areas of the country and to reduce flights with South African countries."
"To reduce the risk of another Covid-19 wave we discourage anyone staying in South African countries to come to Bangladesh at this time", he added.
Zahid Maleque further said various issues were discussed during the meeting in presence of the representatives of different ministries including the Education Ministry, and Planning Ministry, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Regarding those arriving from the Omicron-infected countries, he said that they have to stay in 14 days institutional quarantine. Also, the responsibility of maintaining the quarantine facilities will be given to the Armed Forces.
The number of tests and quarantine facilities also needs to be increased, he said.
The government has taken a decision to provide booster doses to anyone aged above 60 and those suffering from comorbidities, said the health minister.
Those arriving from countries with lower rate of Covid-19 infection can enter the country if they have a Covid-19 negative certificates but if the infection rate rises in that country then they would be subject to 14 days quarantine as well.
The minister also said that the current 72 hour time limit of Covid-19 testing before a flight will be reduced to either 48 hours or 24 hours.
Emphasising the necessity of monitoring those who have arrived from abroad the minister said it is important for local representatives to keep tabs on the returnees and ensure they are maintaining all kinds of health guidelines.
In this case the houses of the returnees might even be marked with a flag, he added.
In the last one month 240 people have returned from South Africa, but after entering the country they could not be traced anymore as they kept their mobile phones switched off.
Later, the local representatives were informed who then were able to track down a few of them.
Zahid Maleque urged everyone to maintain health guidelines properly and forming mobile courts to ensure it. The health ministry has advised other ministries to hold meetings virtually instead of in person, he added.
He also directed local authorities of the districts, upazilas and unions to not allow any kind of social gatherings and halt all kinds of events for the moment.
Classes to continue at educational institutions
The health minister said the classes in schools and colleges should continue as of now, but advised against increasing class numbers.
He also urged teachers and authorities to ensure that everyone is maintaining health guidelines in classes.