Essential health safety rules in public transport


Amid the increase in cases of the Omicron variant around the world, the government of Bangladesh on Tuesday released a 15-point guideline to prevent infection with the highly transmissible African variant of Covid-19.

In an opinion, the General Directorate of Health Services (DGHS) said health examinations, tests and screening of passengers from countries affected by Omicron must be stepped up at all types of ports.

He also discouraged all types of social, political, religious and other gatherings and stressed that the maintenance of health guidelines in public transport must be ensured.

Earlier today, speaking to reporters at the secretariat, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said authorities were not considering imposing a lockdown now, even though several states in neighboring India plagued by Omicron , imposed curfews and closed schools.

“We have plans to apply the lockdown only if infections increase and the situation gets out of hand. For now, we are considering putting some restrictions, including running public transport at half capacity and closing shops and markets at 8 pm, ”he said.

Steps will also be taken to strengthen the screening process along the border, he said, adding: “Some 20,000 hospital beds are also ready… if the number of patients increases.

Maleque said new restrictions would be issued within a week. “The Cabinet division decided on Monday to implement these restrictions within 15 days. However, the virus can spread quickly within 15 days. That’s why we decided today [Tuesday] that the restrictions must be applied within seven days. The cabinet secretary also agreed on this point.

Deputy commissioners from all districts have been urged to strictly implement the guidelines immediately, he said.

Later, the DGHS released the guidelines which also include –

People should follow all essential health rules, including wearing face masks when leaving their homes.

Care must be taken to limit the possibilities for catering in restaurants.

Care should be taken to limit gatherings of people in different places, including tourist sites, recreation centers, resorts, community centers, movie theaters / theaters and social programs.

Sanitary rules, including the wearing of face masks, must be maintained in all places of worship, including mosques.

A 14-day quarantine is a must for passengers arriving from countries affected by Omicron.

All educational establishments (madrasa, pre-primary, primary, secondary, upper secondary and universities) and coaching centers must maintain sanitary rules.

Healthcare professionals and recipients of healthcare services must strictly follow healthcare guidelines.

Unvaccinated people should receive the first and second doses of Covid-19 vaccines at vaccination centers.

Patients with suspected Covid-19, positive patients and others who have been in close contact with patients should be kept in quarantine.

People suspected of Covid-19 must be isolated and placed in a testing center.

Wearing face masks should be made mandatory in offices, in addition to maintaining other health rules and vaccinated people should wear face masks when going out.

Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, virologist and member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19, Dr Nazrul Islam, said the lockdown had never been an effective solution for Bangladesh given the large population.

“I have said it over and over again. The government must focus on accelerating the vaccination campaign, making sure people follow health guidelines, especially wearing masks in public, ”he said.

Highest daily cases in 13 weeks

Meanwhile, the total number of Covid-19 cases in the country rose to 1,587,915 after health authorities recorded 775 more cases in the 24 hours until 8 a.m. on Tuesday, the highest tally on a single day in 13 weeks.

It was on October 4 last year that the country recorded more Covid-19 cases – 794 – than on Tuesday.

With the latest cases, according to the DGHS, the daily infection rate rose to 3.91% from 3.37% on Monday. Dhaka has recorded the most cases – 655 – among the eight divisions.

The country’s total death toll also rose to 28,087, with six more deaths in the same 24-hour period.

Another 253 people also recovered from the disease, bringing the total number of recoveries to 1,549,557.

The latest figures put the cure rate at 97.61% and the death rate at 1.77%.

Delta still dominant

Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Director Professor Tahmina Shirin on Tuesday also attributed the recent increase in Covid-19 cases to people’s reluctance to follow the rules of hygiene as well as the Delta variant of the new coronavirus.

The discovery of the Omicron variant has raised worldwide concern, but Delta is still to blame for the current increase in cases across the country, she said. “Even in November, 100% of Covid-19 patients were infected with the Delta variant. “

Carried by the Delta variant, the country saw a significant increase in the number of cases and deaths in mid-2021. Daily numbers fell in August and the daily infection rate remained around 1% in early December, before hitting a three-month high of 3.37% on Monday.

However, the IEDCR has not yet completed genome sequencing of samples collected in December, said Dr Shirin.

“The sanitary instructions are the same for everyone. [But] people at weddings or at polling centers don’t hide, ”she said.

The Delta variant may still be dominant, but Omicron cases are expected to increase in urban areas, IEDCR consultant Professor Mushtuq Hussain told Dhaka Tribune.

“I think Omicron is now spreading in clusters, but it could end up spreading quickly. As it is more infectious, it can simply overwhelm hospitals with critical patients, ”he warned.

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