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Covid-19 NTAC to govt: Stop indiscriminate use of antibiotics to prevent resistance

  • Published at 11:38 pm November 22nd, 2020
Antibiotic crisis-Bigstock
Representational photo: Bigstock

A total of five recommendations and observations were made at the 22nd online meeting of the Covid-19 NTAC

The Covid-19 National Technical Advisory Committee (NATC) has recommended the government issue strict instructions so that the national guideline for coronavirus treatment is properly followed and maintained by hospitals.

Indiscriminate use of antibiotics has spiked in the ongoing pandemic and the government must stop this to prevent the development of antimicrobial resistance in the general population, said the top Bangladeshi advisory panel.

The calls were made at the 22nd online meeting of the committee, presided over by NTAC Chairman Prof Mohammad Sahidullah on Sunday, said a press release.

A total of five recommendations and observations were made during the meeting. They include:

* In order to prevent the deadly virus from spreading further in the country, inbound passengers are required to have negative Covid-19 certificates (test results of samples collected 72 hours prior to arrival). However, many passengers are failing to follow this. The government is spending Tk14,000 per passenger to keep them in quarantine for 14 days as passengers are finding it very difficult to comply. 

- Airlines should suspend the carrying of passengers lacking proper negative Covid-19 certificates. This directive needs to be strictly followed.

- It should be made mandatory to scrutinize the Covid-19 test reports of passengers entering Bangladesh through the country’s airports (especially Dhaka airport), seaports, and land ports. Authorities need to be aware of fake Covid-19 reports.

- If a passenger fails to provide a negative Covid-19 certificate, they should be kept in quarantine. This can be done at the passenger's own expense. If the report returns negative after testing an individual in one or two days of arrival, they can be released from institutional quarantine but will have to stay in home quarantine under the supervision of the local administration. If someone tests positive for the virus after arrival, they have to be hospitalized and kept in isolation. Inbound passengers who are currently quarantined are advised to be tested.

The above recommendations need to be strongly implemented and those who will fail to do so can be fined.

* The government has already signed an agreement with Serum Institute of India and Beximco Pharmaceuticals to collect 30 million doses of the Oxford University Covid-19 vaccines developed by AstraZeneca. A budget has also been finalized for this. The committee welcomes and congratulates the initiative. Preparations are underway for the vaccines to be properly maintained and distributed across the country. This needs to be completed quickly.

- The government’s National Vaccine Deployment Plan is complete and appropriate.

- It will be difficult to reopen universities and colleges if students are not vaccinated. The feasibility of the move of vaccinating students above the age of 18 needs to be checked.

* Admission and treatment of Covid-19 patients in government hospitals need to be ensured. The participation of private hospitals is also important in ensuring healthcare to infected patients.

* The government is carrying out many awareness programs regarding the importance of wearing masks and following other social guidelines to prevent Covid-19 from spreading further. This needs to continue.      

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