MNA Editorial Desk: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for a collective effort to fight the COVID-19 epidemic in her address to the nation on the eve of the Bengali New Year amid the shutdown imposed by the government to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
“Darkness is engulfing our world because of the coronavirus. We shall overcome this and journey through to a new sunlit day,” Hasina said, calling for a collective resolve to fight the epidemic, reports bdnews24.com.
The prime minister’s televised speech came on Monday amid a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths. Five more patients died from the infection, bringing the death toll to 39.
The tally of cases rose to 803 after another 182 people tested positive for the disease in the last 24 hours, the sharpest daily jump.
The Bengali year 1427 is set to begin on Tuesday with the entire population staying indoors amid the coronavirus shutdown.
Hasina opened her speech saying, “I wish everyone in Bangladesh and abroad a happy Bangla New Year.”
She noted that the programmes of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary were held without any gathering and broadcast through radio, TV and digital media.
“We will celebrate Pahela Baishakh in the same way. We will celebrate the Bangla New Year at home,” the prime minister said.
She mentioned the traditional events and rituals of Pahela Baishakh and added, “This time I urge all to collect green mango, black plum, guava, water melon and other seasonal fruits and celebrate the Bangla New Year at home.”
“Please don’t leave home without any reason. Follow the health rules. Protect yourselves and your families from coronavirus infection,” Hasina said.
The nation celebrates Pahela Baishakh or the first day of Bengali New Year with much fanfare. It turned into the biggest secular festival in the country with the participations of everyone from across their religion or ethnicity.
A colourful procession, Mangal Shobhajatra, symbolising the positive force, is taken out by the Fine Arts Institute. The procession has become part of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage.
But the government banned all programmes and mass gatherings marking the New Year amid risks of contagion. People can celebrate the event with their families at home but no outdoor gathering is allowed.
The government extended the lockdown to Apr 25 ordering the citizens to remain indoors from 6 pm to 6 am.