Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, during a meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) on Thursday, urged government officials not to panic over the coronavirus outbreak, but to work for the wellbeing of the people.
Planning Minister MA Mannan said this in a briefing to reporters after the meeting.
"The core message from the prime minister is that we have to defeat the virus and work at the same time. We know that coronavirus is a global problem. We are going along the same path as the rest of the world," MA Mannan said quoting the Prime Minister.
"We have to defeat the virus ourselves. That doesn't necessarily mean that we will panic and stop working," he added.
"Our main job right now is to ensure the safety of the people, and we have the freedom to do only a little. Developed countries have not been able to contain the virus even after spending lots of money. 475 people died in Italy in one day," planning minister said.
MA Mannan also said that the government will take all necessary initiatives to deal with coronavirus. He mentioning that the government has already taken initiatives to build testing labs in divisional cities.
Sheikh Hasina urged government officials not to spread panic, and work on spreading awareness for the wellbeing of the people instead, MA Mannan further said. The premier also suggested that people should not hold public gatherings and must stay indoors.
"The Prime Minister said that we have to be aware and quarantine ourselves. In this era of technology, it's possible to communicate with others using a mobile or a laptop," he said.
Mentioning that lots of private companies are letting their employees work from home, the planning minister said that it's not yet possible for the government to do that.
"But we can still suspend small meetings within the ministries and continue important meetings such as Ecnec at the Cabinet-level," he said.
The planning minister said that coronavirus was the topic of discussion in the first one hour of the NEC meeting. Health Minister Zahid Malik and Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal shared the latest developments on the virus with the rest of the participants.