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Coronavirus: Bangladesh government mulling China travel ban

The government is considering a temporary ban on travel to and from China as a precautionary measure in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said on Sunday.

“The trade relations between Bangladesh and China are very deep and many people travel to China for business purposes. It might be the reason for a big loss if the deadly virus enters Bangladesh in any way,” he said at an emergency meeting at the ministry.

He said an inter-ministerial meeting will be held on Tuesday, where the issue of imposing the temporary travel ban will be considered with importance, according to a statement issued by the ministry.

During Sunday’s meeting, Zahid also inquired about the number of people and countries affected and the severity of the outbreak. He also urged the people not to be worried as the government has already taken steps to prevent the virus from spreading into Bangladesh.

The director-general of health services also briefed the minister about the precautions — including thermal scanning — that are in place at Bangladesh’s airports, land, and maritime ports and borders to prevent the Coronavirus from spreading here.

Afterward, it was decided that a meeting between the ministries of health, foreign affairs, civil aviation and tourism, shipping and commerce and other concerned ministries would be held on Tuesday to figure out the next steps to tackle the crisis. Until Sunday evening, China confirmed 2,051 cases of infection, while the death toll from the virus stood at 56.

In the outbreak of Coronavirus in China and globally, Chinese officials have restricted transport in at least 13 cities apart from the virus epicenter, Wuhan, locking down close to 56 million nationals. The virus itself is a new or “novel” Coronavirus – a family that normally affects animals. There is no specific cure or vaccine for it.

The virus, believed to have originated late last year at a seafood market in Wuhan, which was illegally selling wildlife, has spread to Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai, as well as the United States, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Australia, France, Canada, and India. On Sunday, China also said that the ability of the new Coronavirus to spread is strengthening and infections could continue to rise, reports Reuters.

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