Imposing restrictions within 7 days to combat Omicron: Health minister – The Business Standard

The health ministry has suggested imposing restrictive measures, such as halving the carrying capacity of public transports and reducing trading hours at shops and shopping malls, within seven days instead of 15 as announced by an inter-ministerial meeting on Monday.
“Fifteen days is a long time and the infection could have already spread by that time. So, I have proposed making it seven days,” Health Minister Zahid Maleque told reporters at a function at the Secretariat on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, to counter the spread of Omicron in Bangladesh, the Press Information Department of the government issued a circular on Tuesday evening with 15 directives given by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) has called upon everyone to strictly adhere to the guidelines across the country.
Monday’s meeting suggested a number of restrictions – making wearing masks mandatory on public transport, closing shops at 8pm instead of 10pm, making vaccine cards a must to eat at restaurants, increasing screening at borders, and campaigning to get everyone vaccinated.
The minister also said the cabinet secretary too agreed to implement the ban in the next seven days. The home ministry, deputy commissioners and superintendents of police have been requested to implement the instructions expeditiously.
Everyone has to be aware that the Omicron variant spreads three or four times faster than other ones. There are only 20,000 beds for Covid-19 patients in the country. It will be quite difficult to accommodate in case the number of patients exceeds the capacity, the minister added.
Zahid Maleque further said the ministry has thought of introducing lockdown if the infection spreads too rapidly and the situation gets out of control.
Covid-19 cases rise to 775, positivity rate nearly 4%
Bangladesh reported six more deaths from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours till 8am Tuesday. Besides, the number of daily cases rose to 775, the highest in 89 days, during the same period. 
Also, the positivity rate went up to 3.91%, up from 3.37% a day ago, which is the highest since 2 October.
With the latest additions, the death toll reached 28,087 and the case tally climbed to 15,87,915 in the country. 
IEDCR said Covid-19 infections are rising in the country as people are not following health guidelines.
“The infection rate is increasing mainly due to not wearing masks, and increase in social and political events. Infections could rise further in the next three to five weeks,” IEDCR Chief Scientific Officer Dr ASM Alamgir told The Business Standard on Tuesday.
Patients who are Covid-19 positive are being admitted to the hospital, so it can be said the Delta variant is still dominating in this region. The rate of hospitalisation due to the Omicron variant is very low worldwide, he added.
“However, the number of Omicron patients will increase. We have noticed in the last two years that within three to five weeks of the spread of a new variant in Europe and America, it spreads to this region”, he said further.
“As such, the infection will increase in our country after three weeks and can spread [throughout the country] within six weeks. Everyone has to wear a mask. Because masks work against all kinds of variants. Also, everyone must be vaccinated”, he concluded.
15 directives to be followed 
COVID restrictions / omicron
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