The government on Monday declared general holidays from March 26 to April 4, aiming to prevent the transmission of deadly coronavirus.
“The government announced holidays for five days from March 29 to April 2. March 26 is a public holiday on the occasion of Independence Day, while March 27 and 28, and April 3 and 4 are weekends that will merge with the five-day holiday,” said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam at an emergency press conference at the Secretariat.
But kitchen markets, food shops, pharmacies, hospitals and all emergency services will remain out of the purview of the general holidays.
Besides, the members of the army will remain in the field in the divisional and district towns across the country from Tuesday in aid of the civil admiration to maintain social distancing and strengthen the coronavirus preventive measures, he said.
The district magistrates will engage the army in the field in line with the article 130 and 131 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), he added.
“The decision was taken to prevent the spread of the Novel Coronavirus. So, people are being requested not to go outside their homes without emergency works,” he said.
Khandker Anwarul Islam said private offices will also remain closed during the public holidays.
“If any office and court need to do emergency works, these will have to be done online,” he said adding that government offices essential for people will remain open.
He said the Prime Minister gave such 10 decisions discussing with all concerned. She had talks with the Army Chief.
Noting that the movement of public transports will remain restricted during the period, he said people have been suggested to avoid the use of public transports.
Those who will use public transports must take adequate precautionary measures. The staff of the public transports, including drivers and their assistants, must wear masks and gloves, he added.
The Cabinet Secretary said the Bangladesh Bank will issue necessary directives for keeping the banking services open on a limited scale considering the need of people during the public holidays.
He said the low-income people can return to their respective villages taking assistance under the ‘Ghore Fera Kormosuchi’, a programme of the government. Deputy commissioners will take necessary measures to provide the assistance, he added.
Besides, the opportunity remains open for poor people to go to Bhasanchar, an Island in Noakhali as accommodation and livelihood of one lakh people were arranged in the island, he said.
The DCs have been directed to provide food and financial assistance to the poor to address their sufferings amid the crisis of earning due to implementation of coronavirus preventive measures, said Anwarul Islam.
The Prime Minister has already directed the Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) to prepare a list of 500 physicians so that they can be engaged in different activities to control coronavirus as per requirement, he said.
All sorts of social, political and religious gatherings have been banned, the Cabinet Secretary added.
Speaking on the occasion, PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus said social distancing is very important to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. “Now it’s time for us to work unitedly as a nation to control Coronavirus,” he added.
Noting that physicians, health officials and other concerned are working round the clock, he said there is nothing to be worried over the Coronavirus.
The Principal Secretary said the Prime Minister discussed the Coronavirus with the President and the programmes of March 26 were cancelled.
Dr Ahmad Kaikaus said the PM's Disaster Management Coordination and Relief Activity Monitoring Cell remains open round the clock in this situation. If anyone wants, the person can call to the cell to know any information in this regard, he added.
So far, 33 people have been detected with Covid-19 infection and three people died being infected with the virus in Bangladesh, according to the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).