2020-03-24 14:46:56 BdST

Armed forces start acting to combat COVID-19


The armed forces  have detailed their modus operandi in combating COVID-19 nationwide by enforcing social distancing and other cautionary measures in coordination with civil administration, hours after the government said the troops were called out “in aid to civil power”.

“The armed forces will discharge the responsibilities in divisional and district towns for social distancing and cautionary measures, the task which they are entrusted with,” defence ministry’s Inter-Service Public Relation Directorate (ISPR) said in a statement on Monday evening.

It said personnel from all the three armed services of army, navy and air force would be on duty in taking precautionary measures against the spread of COVID-19.

The statement said the military troops in coordination with deputy commissioners would review measures for treating coronavirus infected patents and quarantining suspects and particularly oversee if anyone who returned from abroad was defying mandatory quarantine order.

“The district magistrates (deputy commissioners) will request the local army commanders to review situations in line with the law,” it read.

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

The army will review if there is any flaw or negligence in mandatory quarantine of returnees from abroad

The statement said the naval forces would be on duty in coastlines to extend their assistance to the local administrations while air force would mobilize their resources in reaching necessary medical equipment and emergency transportations.

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 the 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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