Bangladesh plans to impose COVID vaccine requirement to dine in restaurants

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Dhaka, Jan 03: Bangladesh will require its citizens to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19 to dine in restaurants amid a recent spike in infections.

With the looming threat of the highly-infectious omicron variant, the government is taking stock of the situation in the country but there are currently no plans to impose a lockdown, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said on Monday.

He stressed the need to enforce a mask mandate and other health directives to avert another crisis.

On Monday, the health directorate reported 674 new COVID-19 infections, the highest in a day since Oct 6, while the positivity rate has also inched past 3 percent again.

Meanwhile, 10 cases of the omicron strain have been reported in the country so far.

In light of the recent developments, an inter-ministerial meeting was held on Monday to explore ways to keep the omicron variant at bay while the recent surge in cases was also on the agenda, according to Maleque.

“We are fighting the coronavirus and are learning a lot about the ways to deal with it. The plans to tackle omicron will be revealed later,” he said.

Highlighting the need to comply with the health directives to prevent another wave of infections, Maleque said wearing masks outdoor has been made compulsory again.

“If you don’t get the vaccine, you can’t eat in restaurants. If you want to eat there, you have to show the vaccine certificate,” he said.

Restaurants that serve food to anyone without a vaccine certificate will be fined, according to the minister.

On whether the school would remain open, he said: “We have decided to place emphasis on vaccinating the students.”

“We have noticed that students are not very interested in getting vaccinated.”

The Cabinet Division will announce the new restrictions within 15 days.