The Police Headquarters has urged people to extend cooperation to police, who are working to curb the coronavirus, instead of spreading rumours and misleading information against them in the greater interest of the country and the nation.
It also warned that appropriate legal action will be taken against rumour-mongers, said a press note issued by the Police Headquarters on Monday. “Our cyber teams are working to find out those spreading rumours and misleading information,” it said.
According to the press note signed by Assistant Inspector General (AIG-Media) of the Police Headquarters Md Sohel Rana, over 2 lakh members of Bangladesh Police have been working relentlessly from the very beginning following government directives to prevent the spread of coronavirus and ensure the welfare of the country and the nation.
Police are interacting with millions of people across the country every day while performing their duties and some of them have been accused of using unwanted force during certain events or interactions, it said.
Unit commanders were ordered to investigate the incidents immediately after those surfaced, the press note said.
It said the Inspector General of Police (IGP) personally spoke to all operational commanders through videoconferencing and mobile phone and they instructed officers deployed at the field level accordingly.
As a result, there was neither the repetition of such incident nor there was any report in the print, electronic and online media, the press note said.
However, a few media outlets are still publishing reports on old allegations in such a way that seems to be of present time. In addition, a vested quarter is making posts on social media by manipulating old pictures and videos which is demoralising police who have been working for the welfare of the country and the people in various ways taking life risk at this crucial time, it said.
“All concerned are being fervently requested to assist the police instead of spreading rumours and misleading information against them in the greater interest of the country and the nation,” it said.
The government has so far allocated Tk 9 crore in cash and 31,000 metric tons of rice for the low-income people across the country as they remained without any work following the restrictive measures taken to tackle the coronavirus.
They are being provided with the assistance through the district and upazila administrations, said a PID handout on Monday.
Both the financial and food assistance were allocated through the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry.
According to the statistics of the National Disaster Response Coordination Centre, the government has so far allocated Tk 88,972,264 and 31,217 metric tons of rice for the low-income people in 64 districts, said the PID handout.
In a desperate attempt to curb the coronavirus in the country, the government declared a 10-day general holiday from March 26 until April 4.
Besides, bus, train, launch and air services were suspended and markets and shopping malls were shut down apart from the closure of all educational institutions with a message to all: Stay Home.
Bangladesh has so far reported five deaths from the coronavirus. Besides, 25 patients are currently under treatment in the country while 19 others have already made recovery.
Local Government and Rural Development Minister Md Tajul Islam on Monday said the distribution of food items among the destitute people will continue.
“The government has declared general holiday to ensure ‘social distance’ for preventing spread of coronavirus and urged people to stay at home. Amid this ongoing situation, it is difficult for the low-income people or poor people to arrange food for them. Under the circumstances, the government is trying to provide food support to them and it will continue as per the directives of the Prime Minister,” he said.
The LGRD Minister came up with the information while talking to reporters after visiting the food distribution programme by Dhaka Wasa, at Mirpur Kalyanpur Natunbazar slum in the city.
“We are doing our duties from our respective sides as per the directives of the Prime Minister and we are conducting the food distributing programme through the city corporations, municipalities and other local government organisations across the country,” he said.
Dhaka Wasa provided food support to 2300 families in the city on Monday.
Summit Group has contributed Tk 3 crore to the Prime Minister's Relief and Welfare Fund to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Principal Secretary to the PM Dr Ahmad Kaikaus received the cheque on behalf of her office.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina thanked the organisations and individuals who donated to her relief and welfare fund l, said a Summit press release.
Meanwhile, Summit Group had presented five thermal scanners for identifying people with high temperature at Dhaka airport and Prime Minister’s Office.
Summit is also supporting SEID Trust based in Kamrangirchar, Dhaka to provide support to poor and disable children who are more vulnerable than the general population.
Information Minister Hasan Mahmud on Monday said the government and the mass media will work more closely to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
He made the remarks after a meeting with leaders of mass media at his Minto Road residence in the capital.
Mentioning that some online portals spread rumours during any crisis to create confusions among people, the minister said the mainstream media can make substantial contributions to this end.
He said the government is identifying those media that spread rumours and taking actions accordingly.
Hasan Mahmud said he sought assistance from the mainstream media in this regard. “We agreed that it’s not right to create fears among people but to make them aware about coronavirus,” he said.
Newspapers and television channels are also passing through a crisis during this pandemic as newspapers’ circulation has fallen while television channels are facing problems, the minister added.
He said they are discussing what steps can be taken on behalf of the government to address the problems.
President of Newspaper Owners’ Association of Bangladesh (Noab) AK Azad, executive member Matiur Rahman, Sampadak Parishad President Mahfuz Anam, General Secretary Naem Nizam, Senior Vice-president of Association of Television Channel Owners (ATCO) and Editors Guild’s President Mozammel Haque Babu and ATCO Director Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury were present at the meeting.
Bangladesh reported another COVID-19 case in the country on Monday, taking the total number of confirmed cases to 49. The country so far confirmed five deaths.
The global death toll climbed to 33,993 on Monday, according to Worldometer.