The National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 has recommended that passengers returning home from abroad without Covid-19 negative reports should be quarantined at their own cost.
If a Covid-19 test (after two days) shows a negative result, the passenger may be released from institutional quarantine. However, the Committee has also suggested ensuring quarantine at their residences under the administration's supervision.
The recommendations were put forward during the 22nd meeting of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 on Sunday, presided over by Professor Dr Mohammad Sahidullah.
In order to prevent a Covid-19 outbreak in the country through incoming passengers, they must produce a negative result of a Covid-19 test taken 72 hours prior to their arrival in Bangladesh.
But many passengers are arriving without the tests and reports. The government spends Tk14,000 (Tk1,000 per day) to keep each passenger in mandatory quarantine.
The 14-day quarantine is also proving to be a challenge for passengers from abroad. The Army, which is in charge of the government-imposed quarantine, has written to the Ministry of Health in this regard.
The Technical Committee has advised the government accordingly.
The Committee suggested that airlines should only allow those passengers to board that are carrying a negative report of a Covid-19 test taken 72 hours prior to their flight. This rule must be strictly followed.
Also, mandatory checking of reports should be done at airports (especially in Dhaka), seaports and land ports, and authorities should be vigilant about fake reports.
The Technical Committee has also welcomed the government's move to purchase 3 crore doses of vaccine. Nationwide distribution and maintenance processes of the vaccines are currently being finalized.
The Committee feels that this process must be developed at the earliest.
The National Vaccine Deployment Plan has been formulated by the government to provide vaccines to people of different professions and communities. This was also discussed during the meeting.
According to the Technical Committee, it will be difficult to normalize activities in universities and colleges if students are not vaccinated. Therefore, provisions to vaccinate all students, 18 years and older, must be carefully explored.
The meeting also discussed admissions and treatment for Covid-19 patients in government hospitals (especially with oxygen supply and High Flow Cannula). The Committee opined that the engagement of private hospitals was equally critical to ensure the seamless delivery of medical services for Covid-19 patients.
The national guideline, prepared by the government, for the treatment of Covid-19 is not being properly implemented in many hospitals.
Consequently, the indiscriminate use of antibiotics is causing antimicrobial resistance, which, may, in turn, bring about a severe step back in coronavirus treatment.
Per, the Technical Committee feels that the government should provide clear, strict instructions in this regard.
The Committee also spoke in favour of the government campaign to mandate the wearing of masks, and other measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. They strongly recommended that these measures be continued.