Bangladesh mandates 14-day quarantine for travellers from 7 African countries

Bangladesh has announced a 14-day institutional quarantine for travellers coming from seven African nations in a bid to prevent the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Arrivals from Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Ghana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe must isolate in designated hotels at their own expense, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) said in a circular issued on Thursday.

The order will be effective from 12 pm on Saturday.

Any passenger who arrives directly from or has been to any of these countries in the past 14 days must go into quarantine. They must book a room at a designated quarantine hotel before travelling to Bangladesh.

Also, the travellers must carry a COVID-negative certificate after undergoing the RT PCR test within 48 hours of the flight. However, the rule does not apply to children under the age of 12. 

While isolating in a hotel, a traveller must take RT PCR tests on the seventh and fourteenth days. They will be kept in isolation in a hospital if they test positive for COVID-19.

On Thursday, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said the government will take action against those who flee quarantine.

There had been incidents of people fleeing the quarantine facility last year when the government had imposed the rule at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Once again, the rule has been imposed to prevent the new variant of the pathogen from spreading.

The authorities will confiscate the passports of those in institutional quarantine. The hotels will be fined in case travellers leave before the end of the quarantine period, the minister said.