Six of seven thermal scanners in Bangladesh inoperative

Bangladeshi hospitalised in Kolkata, Kuwait expats need no certificate

Staff Correspondent | Published: 00:13, Mar 07,2020 | Updated: 14:26, Mar 07,2020


Bangladesh procured seven thermal scanners in 2014 for screening travellers at the ports of entry but six of them are out of order now.

After the coronavirus infection has broken out in China, Bangladesh has been facing a challenge to screen the passengers to know if they have high temperatures.

In this situation, the government requested the World Health Organisation to provide 10 thermal scanners, officials said.

Currently, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research was screening travellers at the ports of entry in an alternative way by using hand-held temperature scanners.

‘We’ve an adequate number of hand-held temperature scanners to screen passengers,’ said IEDCR principal scientific officer ASM Alamgir.

‘The screening for coronavirus is going on effectively,’ he said.

Among the seven thermal scanners procured, three were installed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

But only one of them is now in operation, said officials.

People doubt that the screening of the passengers is going on properly at the ports of entry.

The Chinese ambassador in Bangladesh has recently voiced concern over the proper screening of the travellers at the airports.

There are 29 ports of entry to Bangladesh and people are entering the country after going through the health checkup organised by the IEDCR.

The IEDCR said that they had proper measures to detect suspected coronavirus patients at the ports of entry.

‘If any suspects are found at the checkup, they were isolated at health facilities,’ said Alamgir. Later they go through medical tests to make sure if they have the coronavirus or not, he said.  Talking to journalists, Health Services director general Abul Kalam Azad on Thursday said that Bangladesh was preparing for an emergency health situation.

He said that the World Bank pleaded to provide Bangladesh with $100 million which would be used to set up infrastructure to face emergency health situations in the future.

People who came to Bangladesh from different countries in recent times were putting pressure on doctors at local hospitals to test them.

The IEDCR in a release on Friday said that doctors at local hospitals only test patients when the IEDCR advised them to do so.

‘There is no need to put pressure on doctors to test,’ the IEDCR added. The IEDCR urged the people who were coming to Bangladesh to contact it if they saw any symptoms of the coronavirus in them.

It also advised such persons to be in home quarantine for 14 days after returning from abroad as a precaution.

A Bangladeshi who has recently come from Dubai was hospitalised in Sylhet on Wednesday night as he suffered from fever and breathing complications.

Alamgir said that tests on him were underway.

Besides, three people from the Philippines are now in quarantine at Mongla Port after they have been found with COVID-19 symptoms at an international ship near the port.

The IEDCR said that they left Indonesia few weeks ago and did not leave the ship.

It has been more than 14 days, the incubation period for the virus, that they left Indonesia, said Alamgir.

‘But we placed them in quarantine as a precaution,’ he said.  Meanwhile, a Bangladeshi woman who went to the Kolkata airport from Chattogram in a Regent Airways flight was admitted to the Beleghata Infectious Diseases Hospital there on Thursday afternoon.

The woman was tested with fever and cough—both symptoms of Covid-19—at the airport’s thermal screening at about 4.30pm and later was hospitalised, according to the Times of India.

The IEDCR, however, said that they were not informed about the matter.

‘We have no information about the Bangladeshi woman in Kolkata, said IEDCR principal scientific officer ASM Alamgir.

The IEDCR on Friday said that so far seven people—five in Singapore and one each in the United Arab Emirates and Italy—were infected with Covid-19. 

In another development, the IEDCR said that the Bangladeshi expatriates, who are now in Bangladesh and intending to return to their work in Kuwait, did not need to have health clearance about the coronavirus.

It said that the Kuwait authorities and the Bangladesh mission in that country informed them of the decision.

None has so far been found infected with COVID-19 in Bangladesh, though the novel coronavirus has already spread to over

90 countries, killing over 3,000 people and infecting some one lakh people globally.

Bangladesh has prepared with preventive measures, including screening of passengers at the ports of entry.

Besides, the government has installed isolation centres for coronavirus cases at the medical college hospitals and district hospitals across the country.

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