coronavirus

General holidays likely to be extended: State Minister

MNA Editorial Desk: As both the death toll and infections from coronavirus continue to surge in Bangladesh, the government is likely to extend the ongoing general holidays in a bid to tackle the worsening situation.

There might be official announcement in this regard within a couple of days, said State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain. “Of Course. Time has not come yet to resume offices. Coronavirus is passing through its final stage,” he told UNB when asked whether the holidays will be extended.

“However, no instruction has yet been received about extending the holidays. Directives might come by tomorrow (Wednesday) or day after tomorrow (Thursday),” he added.

The state minister also said there will be some new directives during the holiday extension announcement this time.

Bangladesh has so far reported 110 deaths from coronavirus and 3,382 cases.

Of them, nine people lost their lives in the last 24 hours till Tuesday morning while 434 new cases were reported during the period.

Contacted, Public Administration Secretary Sheikh Yusuf Harun said they have not yet received any instruction about extending the ongoing holiday.

Sources at the Cabinet Division, the holidays might be extended considering the coronavirus situation and the instruction will come from the Prime Minister’s Office.

The final decision might become by Wednesday or Thursday, they said.

Meanwhile, the National Coordination Committee formed to prevent the coronavirus in a meeting held with Health Minister and committee chief Zahid Maleque on Tuesday recommended that the general holiday be extended by one more week.

The recommendation was sent to the PMO for approval, said Md Shah Kamal, senior secretary of the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry and a member of the national committee.

On March 23, the government declared general holidays from March 26 to April 4, aiming to prevent the transmission of coronavirus.

Later, the holidays were extended four times until April 25 -– first from April 5 to April 9, then from April 10 to April 14, later from April 15 to April 16 and finally from April 17 to April 25.

However, kitchen markets, food shops, pharmacies, hospitals and all emergency services remain out of the purview of the general holiday.

Earlier, the government closed all the educational institutions apart from shutting down the rail, road, river and air communications to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus.

Meanwhile, certain branches of banks are open amid the pandemic situation.

All the government officials at divisional, district and upazila levels are asked to attend their offices as per the directives of the Cabinet Division for providing necessary help to fight coronavirus, reports UNB.

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