Bangladesh to ban all rallies after coronavirus advice defied

The government is banning religious, political, social or cultural rallies.

Published : 19 March 2020, 11:10 PM
Updated : 20 March 2020, 10:19 AM

It comes after thousands of Muslim worshipers, defying government calls to limit crowds, gathered to pray for protection from the coronavirus in Lakshmipur on Wednesday.

The decision was taken in a meeting attended by Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam, PM’s Principal Secretary Ahmad Kaikaus and other secretaries in Dhaka on Thursday.

They spoke to top officials of the local administrations via video conferencing on Thursday over the coronavirus outbreak.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Secondary and High Education Secretary Md Mahbub Hossain, Prime Minister’s Office Secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah, among others, were present.

Kaikaus said no one with fever and cold, which are symptoms of coronavirus infection, should visit mosques or temples.

“The officials at the district and Upazila levels will monitor (the compliance) sometimes,” he said.

The government has no wish to suspend prayers at mosques, Kaikaus said.

“But let me make one thing clear. All sorts of political, social, cultural and religious rallies will be embargoed,” he said.

“And the family members of those in quarantine will not go to mosques to offer their prayers,” he added.

The government has made 14-day home quarantine mandatory for returnees from foreign countries to stop the spread of the virus.