Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday urged Bangladesh's citizens to avoid mass gatherings to protect themselves from coronavirus – and asked them not to panic.
"We have cancelled all big programmes including the March 26 event that was organised for children," she said at a function at her official residence Ganabhaban.
She added, "Actually it is not a big problem. Everything will be okay if we follow the government directions to keep ourselves clean."
The government has made preparations to face the threat of coronavirus.
Isolation units, ICUs for coronavirus patients, and medical desks have been set up with designated doctors and specialists across the country.
"The government has taken three-tier steps – preventing the entry of the virus into Bangladesh, controlling its transmission and doing overall management in this regard," said Health Services Division Secretary Md Ashadul Islam.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque said a 100-bed separate hospital has been made ready at every district while a 30-bed medical facility has been prepared in every upazila.
"The government has prepared 500 beds for corona patients in the capital," he said at a press briefing on Monday.
"We have trained doctors in providing services to corona patients," he said, adding that the country has an adequate number of testing kits.
The World Bank will give aid of $100 million to Bangladesh to fight coronavirus, he said. "However, we need more money to face the coronavirus."
Zahid Maleque requested expatriate Bangladeshis not to return to the country now. "We have asked our missions in different countries to work so that the expatriates cannot come to Bangladesh."
He urged those who have recently arrived in Bangladesh to stay in self-quarantine.
"We are discouraging people from going abroad now," the minister said.
He said the government will monitor the market to keep the mask and hand sanitiser prices stable.
He requested affluent people come forward with funds to make arrangements against the deadly virus.
Zahid Maleque called upon the school and college authorities to keep enough hand-sanitisers so students can wash their hands frequently for their safety.
He also said it will not be logical to close the educational institutions right now as the virus has not yet spread.
Posters, banners and leaflets to make the people aware about the virus will be distributed, he said.
The government has suspended on-arrival visas for travelers from four countries – China, South Korea, Italy and Iran.
The minister said more than 40 people have been kept in their self-quarantine as they had connection to the infected persons.
About the scanner machines at airports, he said the ministry has bought six more scanners to detect infected people.
Meanwhile, Professor Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director at the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, said the Bangladeshi returnees from different countries must keep themselves in self-quarantine for at least 14 days.
"We have collected samples from four people in the last 24 hours but we did not find coronavirus symptoms in their bodies," she added.
She said, "We have received 479 calls on our hotline about coronavirus. That is why we have increased the number of hotlines to eight."