Bangladesh extends coronavirus shutdown to Apr 11

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-03-31 15:25:18 BdST

Small passenger carriers are parked beside a street in Dhaka during a shutdown over the novel coronavirus outbreak. Photo: Mahmud Zaman Ovi

The government has extended the shutdown of offices and workplaces to April 9, merging it with the following two-day weekend, amid fears over a coronavirus outbreak.

State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain confirmed the development to on Tuesday.

The general holidays have been extended to Apr 9 as per the instructions of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said Farhad.

With the following two-day weekend, offices will remain shut until Apr 11, he added.

A notice will be issued later on Tuesday.

The government had earlier announced a countrywide general holiday from Mar 26 to Apr 4 to curb the spread of the disease. The public were told to stay at home with all sorts of public transports – land, air and water – suspended.

Before that all educational instructions were announced shut from Mar 17 to 31. The HSC and equivalent exams, which were scheduled to begin from Apr 1, were suspended as well.

After the declaration of general holidays, the closure of schools and colleges was extended to Apr 9. Officials have already hinted at extension of this suspension.

An official said the government is thinking about opening the educational institutions after the Eid-ul-fitr, which includes the holidays for Ramadan.

The general holiday until Apr 4 was applicable for both government and private offices. Whether the latest extension would be same will be made clear in the official notice, said a public administration officer.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had hinted at this extension during a video conference on Tuesday morning, where she addressed the deputy commissioners.

She said, “The holidays were from Mar 26. The quarantines (14-day) will be held until… the 9th. Then this holiday will probably be extended a bit.”

The prime minister said along with this, public transport system will also reopen on a limited scale.

After the announcement, the Ministry of Public Administration sent the proposal to extend the general holiday until Apr 9 to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The government notice will be issued with the approval of the prime minister as she is in charge of the Ministry of Public Administration.