IEDCR's expert team sent to Sylhet for detailed analysis
Twenty five out of the 28 UK expatriates who tested positive for Covid-19 have tested negative in the second round of testing.
Only three people tested positive.
The Sylhet Health Department said that a report of their coronavirus test was obtained from the RT PCR lab of Shahjalal University of Science and Technology on Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, a seven-member team from the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) has arrived in Sylhet to examine if they have the new strain of coronavirus that has been identified in the UK.
Experts estimate that the virus variant, which was identified in the UK last September, could spread at least 70% more. However, it is not sure if it is more lethal than before.
Assistant Director of Health Division of Sylhet Dr Anisur Rahman said samples of the 28 UK expatriates who tested positive for coronavirus were collected on Monday afternoon.
According to the report, three people tested positive and 25 people tested negative.
He said that there may be previous sample errors or test errors or in the meantime the patient may be cured.
The IEDCR team collected samples of these expatriates on Tuesday night to examine the situation in more detail.
After collecting the samples, they visited the RT PCR lab, the health official said.
Dr Anis said it was not immediately clear if the expatriates are carrying the new strain of coronavirus identified in the UK. However, expatriates coming to Sylhet from the UK have to strictly observe quarantine.
Sylhet Civil Surgeon Dr Premananda Mandal said that after receiving positive reports from passengers from the UK, senior officials of the Department of Health and IEDCR were contacted. IEDCR has already sent a team of seven people. They will stay for four or five days.
They would test the type of variant the positive passengers from the UK are carrying, said the civil surgeon.
Sources said that on January 21, a Biman Bangladesh flight (BG-202) arrived in Sylhet from London's Heathrow Airport with 157 passengers on board. Passengers were kept in institutional quarantine at 7 hotels in Sylhet city.
After four days stay there, their samples were collected on Sunday, January 24, as per government instructions.
The next day, their Covid-19 report came positive in the privately established PCR Lab at Semantic.
According to Sylhet International Osmani Airport sources, 544 expatriates came to Sylhet from the United Kingdom in the 20 days from January 4 to January 25.
Among them, 372 expatriates have returned home with negative certificates of coronavirus identification test after completing quarantine at their own cost as per government instructions.
At present, there are 143 people quarantined in different government designated hotels in Sylhet.
BM Ashraf Ullah Taher, Additional Deputy Commissioner (Media) of the Sylhet Metropolitan Police, said 46 members of the Sylhet Metropolitan Police are on full-time duty to ensure proper quarantine of expatriates.
They are also working for the safety of the 28 passengers affected by Covid-19 in the hotels where the expatriates are staying and in the coronavirus isolation centre in Khadimpara. They are making sure that the expatriates cannot leave the quarantine centres.