Coronavirus: Bangladesh cancels Independence Day events

DHAKA (AA): The Bangladesh government on Saturday decided to cancel all major events to celebrate the Independence Day on March 26 as the South Asian nation has been experiencing community transmission of the new coronavirus.

The decision was made at a meeting held between President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the presidential palace on Saturday evening, the state-run news agency, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha reported.

The decision included that the celebration, including the wreath laying ceremony at the National Memorial, civic reception at president official residence, and highest state award distribution will not be held.

According to the media report, the decision was taken due to the coronavirus outbreak across the world, including Bangladesh, and considering public health.

“Both of them urged the countrymen to be cautious instead of being panicked,” the report said quoting Joynal Abedin, press secretary of the head of the state.

Bangladesh, however, in an earlier direction from the prime minister’s office, restricted all sorts of gatherings, including religious, political, social and cultural events across the country, and weighing lockdown if necessary.

Bangladesh confirmed three cases of coronavirus in early March and it confirmed the first death from COVID-19 on Wednesday. There are two confirmed deaths from the disease and 24 cases until Saturday, according to the Health Ministry.

The virus emerged in Wuhan, China last December, and has spread to at least 167 countries and territories, according to data compiled by the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

With more than 287,000 confirmed cases, the death toll now nears 12,000, while almost 90,000 have recovered.

Despite the rising number of cases, most of the people who contract the virus suffer only mild symptoms and recover.