Stricter countrywide restrictions and curbs will be in place in the next couple of days to stop further spread of Covid-19 and its Omicron variant, said Health Minister Zahid Maleque on Saturday.
"Stricter restrictions will be imposed in all districts in the next couple of days to contain the resurgent of the coronavirus pandemic," he said while addressing the media during a winter clothes distribution programme in Manikganj.
"Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has approved the recommendations made by The National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 (NTAC)
"Malls, shops, markets will have to shut down within 8pm. Public transports will operate at half passenger capacity," the minister added.
Meanwhile, amid the ongoing rising trend in Covid-19 cases and deaths, he said that the government is yet to decide on the closure of educational institutions across the country.
He said, "Schools will remain open for the time being. If infections keep on rising, we then will see what can be done."
Asked about health safety guidelines not being properly followed in public places and eateries, he said, "Meetings, processions and elections are taking place across the country. Health rules are not being maintained anywhere.
"The country will come to a standstill if we don't abide by the Covid-19 guidelines."
Earlier on Thursday (6 January), Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said that students, aged above 12 or above, must receive at least one vaccine dose to attend schools and colleges.
"The Ministry of Education has already given instructions that no one can come to schools without getting vaccinated.
"The issue was discussed at an inter-ministerial meeting on January 3 and it was confirmed today," he said while briefing reporters after a Cabinet meeting.
On 4 January, the government announced a set of restrictions to fight the Omicron variant of the deadly virus.
The 16-point guidelines are -
• Ensuring proper health checkup and screening of passengers arriving from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Estonia, Lesotho and other countries, those are infected with Omicron
• Discouraging all kinds of social, political, religious and other gatherings
• Wearing masks properly outside
• Restaurants should allow customers half of their capacity
• Tourist spots, recreation centres, resort, community centres, cinema/theatre halls and other programmes including marriage, birthday, picnic and party, should operate at 50% of their capacity or less
• Health guidelines should be maintained at mosques and other places of worship
• Proper hygiene rules must be followed on public transports
• Passengers coming from infected countries must be placed in 14-day quarantine
• Health rules should be followed at all educational institutions and coaching centres
• Healthcare workers and receivers must wear masks at all sorts of medical centres and maintain hygiene rules
• Those who have not yet received the Covid-19 vaccine should take their 1st and 2nd dose
• Vaccination campaigns should be conducted in compliance with healthcare guidelines
• Meanwhile, those with Covid symptoms and the people who came in contact with them have to be isolated and quarantined respectively
• Coordinating with local authorities to isolate suspected Covid-19 patients showing symptoms and test their samples
• Masks should be worn by employees at all public and private offices and hygiene rules should be followed while carrying out official tasks
• To raise awareness for wearing masks and following healthcare guidelines, using loudspeakers for promotion, even those that are in use at mosques, temples and pagodas. Local government officials and elected public representatives can be involved to run awareness campaigns