“They’ll have to stay in a 14-day institutional quarantine upon arrival," said the minister while talking to reporters over the Omicron scare after attending a programme at Salutika in Sylhet.

Momen said all the missions have been asked to discourage Bangladeshis staying in Africa and the adjacent countries not to travel to Bangladesh now. “However, Bangladesh is ready to face the situation,” he added.

City mayor Ariful Haq Chowdhury, among others, attended the programme.

Health minister Zahid Maleque on Wednesday urged the expatriates, especially those living in Africa, to avoid travel and stay in their respective workplaces.

“People coming from Africa must undergo a14-day quarantine. If 20,000 people from Africa come to the country at a time, then it won’t be possible to put them under institutional quarantine,” he said.

Omicron has spread in different parts of Africa and the new variant has been detected in some European countries, including the UK.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warned Monday that the global risk from the Omicron variant is “very high” based on the early evidence, saying the mutated coronavirus could lead to surges with “severe consequences”.

The assessment from the UN health agency, contained in a technical paper issued to member states, amounted to WHO’s strongest, most explicit warning yet about the new version that was first identified days ago by researchers in South Africa, reports AP.

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