Easing quarantine rules for UK returnees will be suicidal: Experts

National Committee to sit tomorrow to change decision

15 January 2021


Reza Mahmud :
The Health Ministry said that the Passengers coming from the United Kingdom would go for four days compulsory quarantine instead of the previous them in 14 days. Human health experts criticised the decision saying it is totally unscientific and suicidal.
Sources said, countries across the globe stopped travelling UK after a new variant of the coronavirus was found in the kingdom. But Bangladesh has not suspended the travelling, rather imposed 14 days' compulsory quarantine for every passenger return from the country since January 1.
Reliable sources from virologists said the new variant found in UK and other countries have not been found in Bangladesh yet.
Meanwhile, the health ministry on Wednesday sent a notice to civil surgeons that the UK returnee passengers now have to stay in the quarantines only for four days.
The notice said they have to be tested Covid-19 after four days of staying in the quarantine. If they are found positive, they have to go to isolation center and in case of negative they have to go for home quarantine for the rest of 10 days.The decision has been widely criticised.
It is like a repetition of wrong doing as it was done in the first year of Covid-19 spreading in the country, the experts said.  
"If the government stresses on compulsory quarantine for 14 days for all the passengers as well returnees from Singapore and Italy in the beginning of the 2020, the country may not face such a Covid-19 pandemic," Professor Dr. Nazrul Islam, former Vice-Chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) told The New Nation on Thursday.
He said the health ministry is making another grave mistake reducing UK returnees quarantine.
"Who return from the UK, where the new variant of the Covid-19 has spread must have to go for quarantine for full 14 days. But we have learned that the health ministry has re-fixed the compulsory quarantine for four days only instead of its previous decision of 14 days. It is totally unscientific and a suicidal decision," he said.
The pronounced virologist said, "They test after four days, but the infection may be found after five, six, seven or other days during the 14 days of tenure. It is scientific way to keep the suspected one in complete two weeks in quarantine."
Professor Nazrul Islam, also Member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 said also that the members of the committee expressed their anxiety over the government decision and decided to protest it.
The committee will sit tomorrow (Saturday) to take a resolution to urge the government for ensuring those passengers keeping full 14 days on compulsory quarantine.
When contacted, Professor Dr. M. Muzaherul Huq, former Advisor of the World Health Organisation (WHO), told The New Nation on Thursday, "Home quarantine is not properly maintained. So it is ineffective. If home quarantine is not properly and strictly maintained as well as monitored, it may not be effective and chances of spreading contamination will be there. It will be much risky. Official compulsory quarantine must be followed for the UK returned strictly."
He said, special quarantine arrangement must be done for UK returned. It must be an official quarantine center.
Professor Muzaherul Huq said, "We should not take any chance for Bangladeshis to be contaminated by a new variant. Bangladesh health care system cannot afford contamination by a new variant of Covid."

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