Thursday, February 6th, 2020

Those want to return from China being discouraged: Health Minister

Published 11:44 pm | February 06, 2020

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Online Desk : Health Minister Dr Zahid Malik on Thursday said the government is discouraging people, including Bangladesh nationals, to return from China as the coronavirus outbreak worsens.

“Those who want to return from China are being discouraged. Even issuing visa for those who went on leave to China have been kept on hold,” he said while briefing reporters on the coronavirus at his ministry.

“I think it’s better for Bangladesh citizens to stay back instead of returning home, and our embassy will provide them with all the necessary support. They’ll also get better treatment if they fall sick there. So, we’re discouraging them to return home right now,” Dr Zahid said.

The minister said the government has already suspended the visa on arrival for the Chinese citizens following the worsening coronavirus situation there.

He said if Chinese citizens want to visit Bangladesh must apply for visa at the country’s embassy in Beijing and show their medical reports.

He said the government has sent letters to the Chinese companies operating in Bangladesh not to take back their employees who returned to China. “Those who wish to go to China now from Bangladesh are also being discouraged.”

Dr Zahid said the Chinese citizens who came to Bangladesh very recently have been kept under observation on their own arrangement. “They’re given cards so that they can inform us promptly if they fall sick. They’ve been asked not to go outside for 14 days from their places of residence.”

He suggested informing the civil surgeon or the local administration if any Chinese citizen falls sick anywhere in the country.

The minister also urged the people of the country to remain alert about the deadly various. “The government has taken all-out steps to provide treatment if anyone in the country infected with it.”

Besides, he said, 312 Bangladeshis brought back home from Wuhan in China will be released from Ashkona Hajj camp on February 14.

Dr Zahid said no coronavirus infected patient has so far been detected in the country. “Immediate steps will be taken if any information about detection of the virtuous is found. The Chinese citizens also should remain alert about it and the government will provide all-out cooperation to them. ”

He said there is no reason to be worried about the availability of masks as the Japanese government will give Bangladesh 70 lakh masks.

The minister, however, said there is no need for a person in good physical shape to wear a mask now since no-one is infected with the coronavirus. “Anyone can wear it as a precaution. We’ll inform people if it is necessary to wear mask.”

He said the government had preparations beforehand to test the coronavirus. “We’ve modernised it further. Adequate kits have been procured for testing coronavirus within a short time. “

The minister said 170 Bangladeshis are willing to return home from China, and the Foreign Ministry is maintaining contact with them. “They can’t be brought back as no chartered plane could be hired yet.”

The death toll in China from the novel coronavirus outbreak has increased to 564, the country’s National Health Commission (NHC) said Thursday.

In a statement, it also said 28,018 confirmed cases have been reported so far and 73 people have died in the last 24 hours.

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