Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday asked the authorities concerned to engage more the local public representatives to contain the novel coronavirus infections in Bangladesh.
"The prime minister issued the instruction while addressing a meeting of the National Technical Advisory Committee, formed to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country," her Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim told media.
He added that the meeting was held from 11am to 2pm at Ganabhaban – the official residence of the prime minister.
At the meeting, Sheikh Hasina gave several directives for curbing transmission of the lethal virus, and for providing medicare services to coronavirus patients.
"The meeting reviewed various measures the committee has taken to curb the spread of the disease and provide healthcare services to the people infected by Covid-19," said the press secretary.
On condition of anonymity, a member of the committee said, "Containment procedures have been relaxed slightly so that people can resume working with caution. The decision was made for the benefit of the working-class people and to keep wheels of production moving.
"In the meeting, we also discussed that strict action will be taken if the infections continue to increase further. The prime minister has discussed with ministries concerned regarding how various sectors such as transportations and offices would resume their activities with caution."
The committee member further said, "As the number of Covid-19 patients is significantly higher in cities such as Dhaka, Chattogram and Rangpur, the Technical Committee has put an emphasis on following proper health guidelines in urban areas.
"The committee believes that cities are more likely to witness an increase of coronavirus infections and related issues. People in rural areas mostly know each other and they are maintaining quarantine on their own. But this is not the case in urban areas."
He added, "If the containment process has to be tightened, then it should be done in the cities. The role of local administrations in containing the spread of Covid-19 is very important."
Another official concerned said, "After the reopening, the government will observe the situation. If condition deteriorates, everything will be shut down again. However, the government will go for a stricter lockdown instead of declaring another general holiday.
"During that lockdown procedure, restrictions will be enforced on all types of public movement."
Committee President Prof Dr Mohammad Shahidullah, prime minister's Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus, PMO Secretary Tofazzal Hossain Mian, prime minister's Private Physician Prof Dr ABM Abdullah, Secretary of the Health Services Division Ashadul Islam and other members of the committee were present at the meeting among others.
The government on April 19 formed the 17-member National Technical Advisory Committee in a bid to tackle the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
Prof Dr Mohammad Shahidullah, senior child specialist and president of Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council, was made president of the committee, while Prof Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director of Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), was appointed as its member secretary.