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Covid-19: Bangladesh restricts all kinds of gatherings

  • Published at 09:44 pm March 19th, 2020
25000 Muslims perform 'Khatme Shifa' to fight Coronavirus in Lakshmipur
Photo: Dhaka Tribune

Government officials ordered to enforce the directive

The government has imposed a restriction on all kinds of political, social, cultural and religious gatherings in an effort to contain the further spread of the coronavirus in the country.

Besides, people having fever, cough, influenza or other symptoms of Covid-19 infection, family members of coronavirus-infected patients, and those who came in contact with the patients have been asked not to go to mosques and other places of worship.

The prime minister’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus announced the decisions on Thursday, while addressing high and field-level government officials through videoconference, reports UNB.

Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam, other secretaries and the inspector general of police joined the videoconference from the secretariat, while Kaikaus, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and the PMO secretary from the Prime Minister’s Office.

All divisional commissioners and deputy commissioners (DCs) joined the videoconference. Deputy inspectors general of police were with the divisional commissioners, and the superintendents of police and civil surgeons were with the DCs at the time.

“All sorts of political, social, cultural and religious gatherings have been banned. You must ensure it,” the principal secretary told the field-level administration officials.

About the operation of public transport, Kaikaus said the government was yet to take any decision in this regard. “Rather, people with fever, cough and influenza have been advised to avoid public transport. Even transport workers having such symptoms have been advised to abstain from work.”

He, however, said the government’s policy is not to enforce any lockdown, rather to take measures to contain the spread of coronavirus.

So far, since the beginning of March, Bangladesh has recorded 17 Covid-19 cases, three of which were confirmed on Thursday.

Of the 17, three were earlier released upon recovery, while one died on Wednesday.

The government recently also closed all educational institutions, while owners agreed to shut down the cinema halls around the country.

The Covid-19 pandemic, since it started from China’s Wuhan city in late December last year, has so far infected over 236,800 people and killed more than 9,800 in 177 countries and territories around the world, according to worldometer.

Principal Secretary Kaikaus asked the field-level administration officials to strictly enforce the home-quarantine rules to prevent the further spread of Covid-19 around the country.

“Take strict legal action if anyone violates the home-quarantine rules,” he said, asking them to step up their surveillance to this end.

Noting that lists of those who returned home from aboard in the last three months were prepared, he said district-wise lists were sent to every district on Thursday to help intensify the surveillance and take legal actions in case of violation of the rules.

The cabinet secretary asked the local administrations to punish the violators of the home-quarantine rules in line with Section 269 of the Penal Code.

According to this Penal Code section, whoever unlawfully or negligently does any act which is, and which he knows or has reason to believe to be, likely to spread the infection of any disease dangerous to life, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both, he said.

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