Bangladesh suspends contacts with South Africa: Health Minister

Bangladesh is suspending contact with South African countries, such as the United States and Europe, to prevent a new type of coronavirus, the omikron infection. Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Malek made the remarks in an audio message on his way to attend the ‘World Health Assembly Second Special Session’ to be held in Geneva, Switzerland on Saturday (November 26) morning.

This information has been given in a press release signed by Maidul Islam Pradhan, Senior Information Officer of the Ministry of Health.

Health Minister Zahid Malek said the health department has already been directed to take necessary steps in this regard. Bangladesh is cutting off communication with South Africa to prevent the spread of the Omicron B1.1.529 variant.

Highlighting the issue, the health minister said, “We are aware of this. The variant is very aggressive. Air links with South Africa are currently suspended. In addition, air travel will be suspended in countries where the infection has occurred.

As a precautionary measure, screening is being intensified at all airports and land ports in the country, he said.

According to the World Health Organization, the new strain of the virus was first identified in South Africa on November 24. It was later identified in Botswana, Belgium, Hong Kong, and Israel.

Initially, the virus was named “B.1.1.529”, but the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday renamed it Omicron to facilitate discussions. That being said, this type of corona is very worrying. Scientists are working to find out how deadly and contagious Omicron is. But before that, western countries have imposed travel bans on African countries.

Citizens of countries such as South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Lesotho have been banned from traveling by the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.