Government extends Covid restrictions till February 21

In-person classes suspended as well

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The Bangladesh government has extended its Covid-19 pandemic restrictions till February 21.

The decision was taken in light of the emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus as well as the current pandemic situation, the Cabinet Division said in a notification on Thursday.

Public gatherings of over 100 people for social, religious, political or government events are barred, the notice read.

Participants of events must carry their vaccine certificate or RT-PCR report of test performed in the previous 24 hours.

In-person classes at schools, colleges and equivalent educational institutions will also remain suspended for the time being, the government notice said.

To tame the recent surge in Covid-19 cases, the government last month announced a set of restrictions which came into effect on January 13.

They are:

1. People will have to wear masks in all public places including shopping malls, markets, hotels, and restaurants, Otherwise, they have to face legal action.

2. Masks mandatory at outdoors, including offices. The government will operate mobile courts to ensure compliance with health guidelines.

3. People must also show vaccine certificates for dining in restaurants and to stay in hotels.

4. Students aged above 12 will not be allowed to attend in-person classes after 15 January unless they are vaccinated. 

5. Screening facilities at land, sea and airports have to be increased. Crew members will not be allowed to leave ships while only drivers will be allowed to enter the country on trucks through the land ports.

6. Public transport, including buses, trains and launches will have to carry passengers at half capacity while inoculation is a must for transport drivers and helpers. The authorities concern will issue separate guidelines in this regard.

7. Inbound passengers have to show vaccination certificates and take antigen test upon arrival.

8. Imams will have to raise awareness about following the coronavirus health rules, such as physical distancing, during sermons of Friday prayers.

9. Health Ministry will ramp up activities to raise awareness about the booster shots of the vaccines with the help of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

10. All kinds of open-air gatherings, including social, political and religious events, will remain banned until further notice.

11. Local administration will take necessary steps if any special circumstances arise somewhere.

The country’s daily test positivity rate has been witnessing an increase since the turn of the year.

The health authorities reported 12,193 new Covid-19 cases at an infection rate of 27.43% in the 24 hours to Wednesday morning.

A test positivity rate of over 5% is a cause for concern for any country, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

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