Published:  05:21 AM, 20 March 2020

Govt restricts all gatherings

Hand over foreign-returnees to law enforcers: HC

Govt restricts all gatherings Kamlapur Railway Station staff members on Thursday checked all passengers to identify those with symptoms like cough and fever, which are similar to those of COVID-19. -Mostafizur Rahman/AA

Against the backdrop of escalating number of deadly coronavirus patients in Bangladesh, the government has imposed restrictions on all religious, political and cultural gatherings.

The decision was conveyed to field-level officials through video conferencing from Prime Minister's office on Thursday evening. Prime Minister's Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus announced the decision. Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam and other high officials joined the video conference.

The field level officials were ordered to ensure the directives strictly. Meanwhile, in a sudden development the authorities of Shibchar Upazila in Madaripur issued an order on Thursday shutting down all public transports, shops and business houses until further notice to contain spread of coronavirus.

Mohammad Asaduzzaman, Upazila Nirbrbai Officer of Shibchar said, ''The order came into being in the evening excluding shops of essential goods like groceries and medicines.''

Earlier on the day, Health Minister Zahid Maleque held a press briefing at the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) in the capital and said, ''We will lockdown vulnerable neighborhoods such as Faridpur and Madaripur if the COVID-19 situation deteriorates.''  

He also talked to journalists regarding coronavirus situation at the secretariat and disclosed that more than 5,000 people have been put on self or home quarantine countrywide and warned, ''Legal measures will be taken if they don't abide by quarantine rules.''

The government confirmed four more cases of coronavirus infection yesterday including a woman taking the number to 18. Prof Abul Kalam Azad, DG of Directorate General of Health Services at a press briefing in the capital said, ''A 22-year-old woman, a 32-year-old man and a 65-year-old man are the new COVID-19 patients and they all are the members of a family of an Italy-returnee.''

He said, test facilities would be extended to all divisions except Barishal.The fourth person diagnosed with coronavirus was an Italy returnee, ASM Maruf Hasan, the Civil Surgeon of Chuadanga disclosed it at a press conference.On Wednesday, Bangladesh reported first death caused by coronavirus.

In another development, the High Court on Thursday directed Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry to hand over all overseas returnees to law enforcing agencies in an effort to quarantine them so that the virus can not spread.

The bench of Justice Mujibur Rahman Miah and Justice Mohiuddin Shamim passed the order following a writ petition filed by lawyer Eunus Ali Akond. The court also directed the Public Administration Ministry to ask the deputy commissioners to strictly monitor and ensure that the overseas returnees abide by the government's home quarantine rules.Coronavirus has so far killed more than 9,300 people across the globe with at least 229,000 cases of infection.

China has recorded 3,245 deaths followed by Italy with 2,978 casualties. Iran has recorded 1,284 deaths followed by Spain with 803 deaths. The deadly virus has also killed 264 people in France followed by the USA with 155 deaths.As many as 178 countries and territories are experiencing the lashes of COVID-19.

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