POST TIME: 3 December, 2021 12:55:25 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 3 December, 2021 07:37:04 PM
With Omicron on the doorstep, Bangladesh announces new travel rules
14-day quarantine mandatory for travellers from 7 African countries
UNB, Dhaka

With Omicron on the doorstep, Bangladesh announces new travel rules

Representational image

Amid the global scare over the new Omicron variant of Covid-19, Bangladesh has announced new travel rules, making a 14-day institutional quarantine mandatory for all travellers from seven African countries.

The countries are Botswana, Eswatini, Ghana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) said on Thursday in its updated travel restriction notification. The order will come into effect Saturday.

Neighbouring India Thursday reported its first two known Covid-19 cases of the Omicron variant, discovered in two men in the southern state of Karnataka.

According to the new travel rules in Bangladesh, all passengers from these seven African countries will need to stay at government-designated hotels at their own expense.

On the seventh and 14th day of quarantine, they will have to undergo RT-PCR tests at their own expense, it said.

If any passenger tests positive for Covid on the seventh day, they will be separated for further isolation, while Covid-negative travellers will continue their quarantine till the 14th day.

Depending on the RT-PCR test results on the 14th day of their quarantine, Covid-negative passengers will be released.

The passengers returning from these seven countries will need to show proof of hotel bookings in Bangladesh during check-in, said CAAB.

With changes to a previous guideline, incoming passengers from all other destinations, except children below 12 years, will need to mandatorily possess a Covid-negative certificate, with the test conducted within 48 hours of their flight departure, it said.

Omicron raised alarm because of its sheer number of mutations, more than prior variants had. Possibly 30 are in a key place, the spike protein that lets the virus attach to human cells, reports AP.

A World Health Organization panel named the variant 'Omicron' and classified it as a highly transmissible virus of concern, the same category that includes the predominant Delta variant, which is still a scourge driving higher cases of sickness and death in Europe and parts of the US.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Wednesday that 23 countries across the world have so far reported cases of the highly mutated Omicron Covid-19 variant.