The troops will help local administrations around the country to enforce precautionary measures
Bangladesh’s armed forces will start assisting the administration in every divisional and district towns around the country from Tuesday, to ensure that people are maintaining social distance and taking precautionary measures to prevent the novel coronavirus from spreading further.
The armed forces — which include army, navy and air force — will take part in the initiative in line with the "Aid to the Civil Power" policy of the Defence Ministry, according to a press release issued by the Inter Services Public Relation Directorate (ISPR) on Monday.
It said that the army will coordinate with the local administrations and evaluate the quarantine system for suspected Covid-19 patients and treatment of the confirmed patients.
The navy will assist the administrations of coastal districts, and the air force will help to transport medical equipment and handle emergency transports for all hospitals.
Confirming the deployment decision, ISPR Director Lt Col Abdullah Ibn Zaid also told Dhaka Tribune that officers of different ranks will lead the assistance initiative in every district.
Earlier, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam had also announced the government’s decision to deploy the troops at a press conference at the secretariat in Dhaka on Monday.
He also said that, in coordination with the district magistrate, the army will evaluate treatment of infected patients and the quarantine system of suspected patients in every district and divisional town.
The troops will also help to find out if anyone who has returned from abroad was neglecting mandatory self-quarantine, he added.
The government on Monday also declared general holidays from March 26 to April 4 and issued 10 directives in order to prevent further spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which started in China’s Wuhan city in late December last year.
However, kitchen markets, hospitals and pharmacies will remain open as usual.
Earlier in the day, the authorities had confirmed Bangladesh’s third coronavirus death and six more new patients, including a health worker, taking the number of such cases to 33.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 358,000 people so far and killed over 15,400 in 193 countries and territories globally, according to worldometer.
Earlier, Bangladesh government had closed all educational institutions until March 31 and postponed the Higher Secondary Certificate and equivalent examinations, which were supposed to begin from April 1.