Around 25,000 people gathered in Bangladesh for a prayer meet to ward off the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 on Wednesday, March 18. Such a large public gathering comes after the authorities have shut down schools and ordered people to avoid public gathering. The South Asian nation has reported 14 coronavirus cases, along with a lone fatality.
The meet happened in an open field in southern Bangladesh's Raipur town. People recited Quranic verses, to ward-off the deadly coronavirus which has caused major devastation the world.
Coronavirus prayer meet in Bangladesh
"They held the Khatme Shifa prayers after dawn to free the country from the coronavirus," local police chief Tota Miah, told AFP. The organizers didn't seek any permission to organize the event. Despite government's order to avoid public gathering, several people used the opportunity to visit tourism sites.
To prevent mass gatherings at tourist sites, police had to close two beaches, including one at Cox's Bazar, the city which houses over a million Rohingya refugees, who fled from neighboring Myanmar, where they faced religious persecution.
According to Obaidul Quader, a senior leader from the ruling Awami league, a complete lock-down might be effected, to deal with the looming coronavirus crisis. "If necessary, Bangladesh will be shut down. It'll be enforced where necessary. People must be saved first. We'll do everything for that," Quader said.
Bangladesh reports first Covid-19 fatality
On Tuesday, the country witnessed its first Covid-19 related death. A 70-year-old man, with underlying health issues, died due to the disease.
"The patient had COPD, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems for which he had stenting. So, he was already an emergency case. It's a bad news indeed that we've lost a life for the first time in the country from Covid-19", Meerjady Sabrina Flora, Director of Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), said on Wednesday.
The man got infected after coming in contact with a person, who had traveled from abroad. The country of 167.5 million has reported just 14 coronavirus cases. This has been largely attributed to inadequate testing.