The movement of people in capital's busy Motijheel area was thin on Friday as many residents left the city for fear of the coronavirus outbreak. -Zahidul Islam
In the wake of coronavirus pandemic, most nations have exerted stringent measures like stay-at-home, lockdown and curfew in many neighborhoods.
But Bangladesh is yet to go for such measures despite growing numbers of patients as hundreds of expatriates have returned home from many affected countries including worst-hit Italy.However, the government is mulling halting bus, train and launch services if the situation deteriorates.
Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan on Friday said, "We have taken some pre-cautionary steps at trains and railway stations as per directives of the Health Ministry to contain the spread of coronavirus. If the situation gets worse, the government will stop train services for a certain time."
The body temperature of passengers is being checked at major railway stations of the country and passengers are requested to use masks, he added. Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said, "Preventive measures have been taken as per directives of the Health Ministry and bus owners have been asked to disinfect vehicles before those carry passengers."
Replying to a query regarding stopping inter-district bus services, the minister said, "Necessary steps will be taken if needed.'' State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said, "We are discouraging people to travel by launch and steamer and if the situation deteriorate, the movement of all river vessels will be suspended."
The country on Friday recorded three more cases of coronavirus raising the number to 20. Of them, there is a woman aged 30 while the others are two men aged 30 and 70.
The elderly man is in critical state and undergoing treatment at Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Professor Nasima Sultana, additional director general of Directorate General of Health Services, disclosed it at a press briefing in the capital. ''The newly infected three persons are the members of separate families and one of them returned home from Italy,'' she said.
As per information gleaned from IEDCR, a total of 44 persons have been put on institutional quarantine while 30 others put on isolation at different hospitals.
Bangladesh on Wednesday reported first death caused by coronavirus.Following the quick spread of COVID-19, California has issued a stay-at-home order on all the 40 million people. Argentina has ordered all 45 million people into lockdown.
Sri Lanka has re-imposed an island-wide police curfew which is effective from 6pm on Friday to 6am on Monday.India's Maharashtra on Friday decided to shut all shops and offices except those providing essential services in India's financial capital Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur until March 31.
Italy, the European epicenter of coronavirus has put the entire country on lockdown. Army personnel have been deployed to check people's movement across the country. However, Bangladesh has only restricted public gatherings and put Shibchar Upazila in Madaripur on lockdown.
Coronavirus has so far killed more than 10,400 people across the globe with at least 252,000 cases of infection. Italy has recorded at least 3,405 deaths followed by China with 3,248 casualties.
The virus has killed 1,433 people in Iran followed by 1,002 in Spain. France has recorded 373 deaths followed by the USA with 217 casualties.A total of 182 countries and territories have recorded cases of COVID-19.
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