Bangladesh plans to make vaccine certificates mandatory for entry to restaurants, malls, launches and trains

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina sat down with her colleagues at a cabinet meeting on Thursday as omicron had been a matter of special attention.

“We have considered making certificates proving double vaccination mandatory for restaurants, shopping malls, trains, planes and launches within a short period. These are the kinds of measures we are discussing,” Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said after the meeting.

“We need to be stricter about the vaccine. We must also see how we can make the booster shot more widely available and easy to access,” Islam said, referring to discussions at a previous government meeting on Jan 3.

Asked how such a restriction would be enforced at restaurants or shopping malls, Islam said: “People will keep a soft copy of the certificate on their mobile phones or keep a hard copy with them. No country in the world can check everyone everywhere, but we can check a sample.”

The health inspectors at the city corporation and municipal level will conduct the searches, and law enforcers will handle them.

Islam also made it clear that school students between the ages of 12 and 17 would be told to stay home if they did not have at least one dose of the vaccine.

“We informed the Ministry of Education about the matter after it was discussed on Jan 3 and today the education minister was informed at the Cabinet meeting.”

“A final decision will be announced after a meeting with the technical committee within the next couple of days. The decision regarding school students, however, has already been taken.”

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“We also need to take strict measures to ensure that people are wearing masks again,” he said.

“We will start motivational campaigns. Law enforcers and mobile courts will enforce the rules.”

Social, political and religious gatherings will be limited, and masks will be made mandatory for public transport.

The technical committee has yet to decide on the exact limits on public gatherings and will announce the decision after further discussion, Islam said.

Asked whether restrictions would be imposed on public transport, the cabinet secretary said a decision had been taken to limit seating to half capacity if the pandemic situation worsens.

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