Preventing Coronavirus Outbreak: Govt has taken all necessary steps
Bangladesh has taken all necessary measures to prevent coronavirus from entering the country, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said yesterday.
“The situation at present is nothing to panic about. Even if it [the virus] comes, we’re fully prepared,” he said at a seminar, organised by Bangladesh Medical Association, at the capital’s Segunbagicha.
He also said a cabinet meeting earlier in the day decided that the government would not send any more chartered flights to China to bring home Bangladeshi nationals.
“If any Bangladeshi wants to come back, he or she will have to do that themselves. The government would provide necessary support. But those returning from Wuhan will have to remain quarantined for two weeks.”
On Saturday, 312 Bangladeshis, who had been stranded in the Chinese city, landed in Dhaka in a special flight. Three hundred and ten of them remained quarantined at Ashkona Hajj Camp while the other two were at a hospital last night.
The minister said another 171 Bangladeshis had recently sought to return from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak,
On the temporary ban on on-arrival visa for Chinese nationals, he said all Chinese nationals would need to show health certificates to the Bangladeshi authorities for the visa.
Anyone returning from China will have to be quarantined, he added.
Speaking at the programme, IEDCR Director Prof Meerjady Sabrina Flora also said they had taken all sorts of preparations in line with the WHO guidelines to prevent any possible outbreak of the virus.
Urging all not to panic, she said in around 80 percent coronavirus cases in China, patients recovered without needing any hospital admission.
“Most of the patients who had been taken to hospitals also recovered after a certain period,” she said.
“We have analysed the coronavirus cases and found that most of the victims who died either had other infections or were infants or elderly people,” she said.
Less than three percent of those infected died, she said, adding that the mortality rate was lower than that of the outbreaks of SARS or MERS.
The new type of coronavirus has already claimed more than 300 lives and all the victims, except for one, died in China.
“The man who died in the Philippines had co-infections. It will be wrong to say he died only of coronavirus,” she said.
Prof Flora then said the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) tested samples taken from 34 people, and found none of them carried the virus.
She urged all not to panic and maintain hygiene. “If you have symptoms of cold, it does not mean you are infected with coronavirus. But if anyone has been to China recently and have symptoms of flu, they require special care.”
Citing different studies, Prof Nazmul Hasan, assistant professor of BSMMU’s internal medicine department, presented the “Clinical Features and Management of 2019 n-CoV” and described the source and spread of the virus.
“It is believed the novel coronavirus has spread from bat to snake and then to humans. Later, it spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes,” he said.
Speaking as a special guest, former BSMMU vice-chancellor Prof Nazrul Islam said, “It is the seventh new strain of coronavirus, which is usually carried by bats.”
Prof Dr ABM Abdullah, a former dean of BSMMU’s internal medicine department, suggested that people stay clean to prevent the spread of the virus.
EIGHT RETURNEES NOT INFECTED
Meanwhile, the IEDCR yesterday confirmed that none of the eight Bangladeshis, suspected of contracting coronavirus, was infected with the virus.
They were among the 312 Bangladeshis who returned from Wuhan on Saturday. Of the eight, seven were sent to Ashkona Hajj Camp while the other was at a hospital.