Coronavirus outbreak: Bangladesh imposes ban on entry of Europeans, to close educational institutes from 18 to 31 March
'All educational institutions across the country will remain closed from 18 to 31 March', said Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury
Dhaka: Bangladesh on Monday closed all education institutions from 18 to 31 March, and imposed a ban on the entry of Europeans and travellers from several countries, including India, as part of measures to combat the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic.
"All educational institutions across the country will remain closed from 18 to 31 March," said Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury.
The cabinet, in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, asked parents to keep their children indoors during the period when schools are closed, said a government spokesman.
"Any student found to be roaming outside their residences without any logical grounds will face punitive actions," he said.
As part of other directives issued by the Cabinet, returnees from abroad would be sent on a 14-day compulsory quarantine.
Meanwhile, health authorities detected three new coronavirus cases on Monday taking the total number of COVID-19 patients in the country to five, after accounting for the three persons who recovered during medical observation.
"Three more persons were diagnosed with COVID-19... they belong to one family," said Director of Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora.
She said two new cases were children below the age of 10 years, while the third was an adult female.
On Saturday night, the IEDCR said two people were detected with COVID-19 after they returned from Germany and Italy. The new victims are relatives of these "imported cases".
The IEDCR chief said the first three patients detected with coronavirus last week had recovered now after isolation under medical observation.
Bangladesh on Monday enforced its ban on entry of people from Europe and other coronovirus-hit countries, including India.
Civil Aviation Secretary M Mohibul Haque said the ban would exclude people who would be travelling from Britain but the intending passengers must ensure that they did not visit any severely coronavirus-hit country in the last 28 days.
Haque said the Civil Aviation Authority has directed all airlines not to carry any passengers to Bangladesh from Europe except those from the United Kingdom till 31 March.
The ban is meant for Bangladesh-bound travellers from all European countries, except the UK, and other nations which restricted Bangladeshis entry to their territories over the coronavirus.
Earlier, India, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar had banned the entry of arrivals from Bangladesh.
"We will reciprocate their decision in an identical manner... but the ban will be imposed for both foreigners and Bangladeshi nationals," Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said.
Europe is now the epicentre of the worldwide pandemic, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), with Italy, France and Spain all banning public gatherings and the UK set to follow suit as the virus claimed over 6,500 lives around the world.
Bangladeshi officials said a senior government officer was quarantined on his return home from an overseas tour while a Bangladeshi expatriate in Saudi Arabia was fined Taka 10,000 as he violated the quarantine related directives.
The coronavirus also forced Bangladesh to scale down the planned festivity on Tuesday to mark the opening of the year-long birth centenary celebrations of founder Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
South Korea's military condemned North Korea's launch as a 'serious provocation' that violates UN Security Council resolutions and 'damages the peace and safety' of the region and the broader international community
South Korean activists clash with police over launching balloons with anti-Pyongyang propaganda materials
Park Sang-hak, a North Korean defector-turned-activist, said he and his group had launched about eight balloons from an area in the South Korean border town of Paju Saturday night when police officers arrived at the scene and prevented them from sending their 12 remaining balloons
The launch is the second by North Korea this week. Harris is to arrive in South Korea on Thursday for talks with President Yoon Suk Yeol and other officials. She also is to visit the tense border with North Korea