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Nationwide lockdown under consideration: Quader

Road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader on Wednesday said Bangladesh may enforce a lockdown to prevent further spread of coronavirus in the country.

“If necessary, Bangladesh will be shut down. It’ll be enforced in areas where we feel necessary. People must be saved first. We’ll do everything for that,” he said.

Quader, also Awami League general secretary, was replying to a query from reporters whether Bangladesh is ready if it is to be locked down like other countries to handle the coronavirus situation.

He also said the operation of inter-district buses will be halted, if necessary. “Bus passengers have already declined due to the prevailing situation. We’ll take steps (to stop the bus operation) even after that,” he said.

As the chief of the World Health Organization put highest emphasis on test, the minister said they will go forward following this.

About the screening of passengers at airports, he said there is chaos even in powerful country like the USA. “We’ve no prior experience of such situation. However, we’re taking lessons from mistakes. Everything will be done to tackle the situation,” he said.

Quader also sought suggestions from media in this regard.

He also urged all political parties to come forward to fight the common enemy of all instead of doing politics over the issue.

The minister said the coronavirus issue is a new experience for the entire world. “However, we’re mentally well-equipped. This is a big strength. We’re trying to procure necessary equipment. There’s no lack of sincerity in this regard.”

Describing coronavirus as a dangerous enemy, he said, “We’re even more powerful as a nation and we proved it yesterday (Tuesday). We hope we’ll be able to defeat it.”

About rallies and meetings, Quader said these will remain halted. “Let’s face the coronavirus together,” he said.

Bangladesh has so far reported 10 coronavirus cases.

Meanwhile, the death toll from the coronavirus or COVID-19 has climbed to 7,987 globally as of Wednesday.

It has so far infected 198,426 people around the world, according to worldometer.

Of them, 107,676 are currently being treated with 6,415 being in serious or critical condition.

So far, 90,750 cases had outcomes and of them, 82,763 (91 percent) recovered and 9 percent died.

COVID-19 is affecting 162 countries and territories around the world and one international conveyance (the Diamond Princess cruise ship harboured in Yokohama, Japan).

The World Health Organization on March 11 declared the coronavirus crisis a pandemic.

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