With coronavirus transmission on the rise, the National Technical Advisory Committee on the virus has urged the government to immediately bar airlines from bringing in passengers on international flights without valid Covid-19 negative certificates.
The committee also recommended making the checking Covid-19 report mandatory in all land, air and sea ports across the country.
They made these recommendations at a time when the government is spending Tk 1,000 per passenger for institutional quarantine on a daily basis.
"There is a rule in place that passengers must come with Covid-19 negative test reports done within 72 hours before departure. Many passengers, however, are coming without [Covid-19] tests and reports. For their 14-day quarantine, the cost of the government is Tk 14,000. Besides, it is difficult for the passenger [to stay in quarantine]," said a press release signed by Dr Mohammad Shahidullah, president of the NTAC.
According to the NTAC press release, they recommended that a "bar be imposed on all airlines from carrying passengers without Covid-19 negative certificates based on tests done within 72 hours prior to journey".
The NTAC also suggested that the cost of quarantine be borne by passengers who arrive without a test report.
They also said those sent to quarantine centres can be tested again within one or two days, and be released or sent to isolation depending on the results.
The committee also stressed on being alert about fake test certificates, recommending financial penalties if anyone breaks rules.
Meanwhile, terming the "Covid-19 National Vaccine Deployment Plan" "complete and rightful", the NTAC said students over 18 years should be included for vaccination.
"If students do not get vaccines, opening universities and colleges is tougher," the NTAC said.
The NTAC also reiterated its call to ensure Covid-19 treatment in government hospitals, especially supply of oxygen and high-flow nasal cannula.
The committee also said there is "irrational use" of antibiotics as the national Covid-19 treatment protocol is not being followed in many hospitals and there is a need for "strict directives".
"While the irrational use of antibiotics is developing antimicrobial resistance, it may also have disastrous results in Covid-19 treatment," the NTAC said.
IN 11 WEEKS
In 24 hours till 8:00 am yesterday, 2,419 people tested positive for the novel coronavirus, said a press release from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
This was the highest single-day case in 82 days dating back to September 2, when 2,582 cases were recorded.
Yesterday's count takes the total number of Covid-19 cases in the country to 4,49,760.
In the same 24 hours, 28 people have died due to the viral infection, raising the death toll to 6,416.
The death rate was 1.43 percent against all confirmed cases.
Against a total of 16,059 tests in 117 labs, the positivity rate was 15.06 percent while the overall positivity rate is 16.88 percent.
Meanwhile, 2,183 Covid-19 patients have recovered during the 24-hour period, taking the total number of recoveries to 3,64,611 -- 81.07 percent of all cases.
Among the 28 deceased, 21 were males and seven females.
Two were aged between 41 and 50 years, five between 51 and 60 and 21 were above 60 years, added the release.