Prime minister Sheikh Hasina said that the government might extend the ongoing holidays till April 9 due to coronavirus situation.
She also asked all to suspend celebrations marking Pahela Baishakh, Bangla New Year, on April 14.
The prime minister gave the directions while holding a video conference with top government officials posted in 64 districts from Ganabhaban on Tuesday morning.
She said that the holidays might be extended to end spreading the COVID-19 at the villages as many people have already gone to their village homes soon after the announcement of 10 days public holiday.
The prime minister said the government has to give relaxation on some sectors in a limited basis.
The government earlier on March 23 declared a nationwide 10-day holiday from March 26 to April 4 shutting down the government and private offices excepting essential and healthcare facilities over the COVID-19 situation.
All have been requested to stay-at-home during the holidays unless they have a good reason to leave their homes to buy essentials such as food and for medical and health care purposes as the kitchen markets, food shops, pharmacies, hospitals and all emergency services remained out of the purview of the general holidays.
‘We’re taking this decision for the welfare of all,’ she said.
She, however, said that offices would remain open in a limited way. ‘I’ll look into this matter what we can do regarding this. We’ll take steps so that the ways of income of the people remain open,’ she said.
Sheikh Hasina said it would be inhumane if anyone hikes the price of essential commodities taking the chance of people’s sufferings.
‘We’ve to maintain the supply side so that the prices of essentials remain stable and keep within the commoners reach. We’ve to ensure that,’ she said.
‘As we’ve cancelled all programmes that attract a huge number of people, I’ll request all to stop Pahela Baishakh celebration programmes with huge gatherings for the sake of the people’s welfare,’ she said.
She said the government is televising class lecturers through Sangsad Television for the sake of students.
Regarding the personal protective equipment, the prime minister said that only the doctors and other related people who were serving the COVID-19 infected patients would use PPEs. ‘There’s no need to wear PPE for others,’ she said.
She also asked the officials to stand beside the day-labourers and warned of dire consequence if any corruption is reported.
‘I will not spare anyone utilising the bad days of the people,’ she said mentioning that rice would be provided to the poor at Tk 10 kilogram.
She asked the officials to prepare a list of working-class people and the poor in every ward so that no one becomes deprived of the government assistance.