Any number of troops is ready to be deployed to fight coronavirus: Army chief Gen Aziz

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-04-01 20:12:19 BdST


As many troops as necessary will be deployed to stem the coronavirus outbreak in Bangladesh, Chief of Army Staff General Aziz Ahmed has said.

“We will give as many as necessary. There is no need for creating panic for nothing,” he said at a media briefing after a meeting at the Secretariat in Dhaka on Wednesday.

Gen Aziz was asked whether the army will increase the size of deployment to ensure social distancing so that people do not get infected.

“The army is working on instructions from the prime minister. The prime minister has clearly outlined the duties of all stakeholders, not only the army, including the law-enforcement and the civil administration,” Gen Aziz said.

“We are working under the prime minister’s leadership and we will continue to do so.

“The prime minister has likened the coronavirus crisis to a war. We are soldiers. We are always ready for war and we will support all,” he said.

The armed forces have been working to ensure social distancing of people in the divisional and district towns, coastal areas and to transport emergency goods in aid of the civil administration since Mar 24.

Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said they discussed readymade garment and other sectors in the meeting.

He said the government has made arrangements for the apparel industry entrepreneurs to get loans at 2 percent interest as the sector is the largest exporter of Bangladesh.

They discussed how the loans will be released and how the entrepreneurs will use the money, Munshi said.

“There are talks at different levels that the government is donating money to the exporting sectors. It’s not donation. They will have to repay the loan in time. The details will be sorted out in a day or two,” he added.

He noted that the factories that have work to do can remain open but the owners must ensure protection of the workers from the virus.

Business leaders also attended the commerce ministry meeting.