Many Bangladeshis often visit Singapore which has the highest coronavirus infections outside China
The coronavirus outbreak in Singapore is a matter of concern for Bangladesh because a large number of Bangladeshis frequently visit the island city-state for medical treatment and for shopping.
Moreover, there are many Bangladeshi expatriates in Singapore working at numerous construction sites. There are also direct flights between the two countries.
"We need to be more cautious now about Singapore because the country has the highest number of coronavirus infections outside China," said Prof Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).
Dr Flora told The Business Standard that there are no direct flights from Bangladesh to Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province in China, from where the virus is believed to have originated.
"But we do have direct flights to Singapore, and people frequently go there for tourism and for medical purposes," she added.
A Bangladeshi expatriate was diagnosed with the virus in Singapore on February 9. Media reports suggest that the Bangladeshi worker has never visited China.
In the meantime, as many as 11 Britons were tested positive for coronavirus after coming in contact with a British national who recently returned from Singapore. This man also spread the virus without setting foot in Wuhan.
There were three more new coronavirus cases in Singapore on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to nearly 50.
"Local transmission of the virus in Singapore is on the rise, pushing the infection rate outside China to a concerning level," IEDCR Director Dr Flora said.
Many countries have already limited travel to Singapore after coronavirus cases spiral in the country.
For example, Taiwan raised the travel alert to Singapore to level two, which urges citizens to take "protective measures" if they travel there.
Though Bangladesh is yet to limit travel or issue any warning for Singapore travelers, the government is closely monitoring the flights to and from Singapore.
"Singapore flights will get the same precaution that Chinese flights do," said Dr Flora.
Bangladesh has taken precautionary measures at ports and entry points following the coronavirus outbreak. All incoming passengers have to pass through a thermal scanner at the entry points.
"Apart from scanning, passengers on Singapore flights will have to fill up a health declaration form," said the IEDCR.