2020-03-24 01:49:19 BdST

Army deployed to assist civil admin


The army will start fanning out across the country on Tuesday to enforce social distancing rules and all public and private offices will remain closed until April 4 as the government gears up its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The armed forces — which include army, navy and air force — will take part in the initiative in line with the "Aid to the Civil Power" policy of the Defence Ministry, according to a press release issued by the Inter Services Public Relation Directorate (ISPR) on Monday.

he army will aid local administrations from Wednesday in implementing awareness measures such as social distancing in divisional cities and district towns.

In coordination with district magistrates, they will review arrangements for treatment of coronavirus-affected patients and quarantine for the suspected cases, he said.

The army will review if there is any flaw or negligence in mandatory quarantine of returnees from abroad, the cabinet secretary added.

"The government has taken up these steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus. People are requested not to come out of their homes unless it is an emergency."

The navy will assist the administrations of coastal districts, and the air force will help the transport medical equipment and handle emergency transports for all hospitals.

Confirming the deployment decision, ISPR Director Lt Col Abdullah Ibn Zaid said that officers of different ranks will lead the assistance initiative in every district.

Earlier, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam had announced the government’s decision to deploy the troops at a press conference at the secretariat in Dhaka on Monday.

The country's top bureaucrat came up with these announcement within an hour after the IEDCR said another coronavirus patient died and six more people tested positive for the virus.

The cabinet secretary said the prime minister on Monday held meeting with Enamur Rahman, state minister for disaster management and relief, and top bureaucrats, including her principal secretary, on containing the spread of the virus. Khandker Anwarul was also present.

Before the meeting, the prime minister held another meeting with Chief of Army Staff General Aziz Ahmed, he said, adding the PM gave the directives taking the overall situation into consideration.

Latest measures taken by the government partially placed the country under lockdown. All the schools and colleges and cinema halls were shut down last week. All sorts of gatherings, be it social, political, religious or cultural, have been banned. Non-essentials shops are supposed to be closed by Wednesday. City streets are getting empty as a large number of people have left the capital for their hometowns.

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