Dhaka – Bangladesh may keep the schools shut until September if the situation stemming out of the novel coronavirus outbreak is not improved, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Monday.
“We’ll not open educational institutions now. Those will remain shut till at least September next if the present coronavirus (pandemic) continues … we’ll open the educational institutions when the pandemic is stopped,” Hasina said.
The prime minister came up with the remarks while addressing officials from eight northern districts though video conferencing from her official Gonobhaban residence.
Bangladesh imposed a closure on public and private offices and schools alongside a nationwide transport shutdown to stem the spread of novel coronavirus that killed more than 150 people and infected more than 5,500.
The premier urged the businesspeople not to worry about the interest of the bank loan, saying that the government will consider so that the payment of the interest remains suspended and how much of the interest (of the credit) could be waived.
She said many firms had bank loans to run their businesses by paying the interest, which has increased due to present situation arising out of the coronavirus outbreak.
“The interest is not supposed to be taken now, and after this meeting, I’ll sit with the finance minister to this effect,” she said.
She went on saying: “We’ll consider so that the payment of interest remains suspended in this situation and how much amount of the interest could be waived and how much you (businesspeople) can pay regularly.”
The prime minister said the government will lift the shutdown gradually from that places which are less affected by the pandemic.
“Our biggest tasks are now to save the people and keep up their living and livelihood … we’re giving attention so that the people can lead a normal life and do trade and commerce,” she said.
She called upon everyone to get prepared for the post pandemic situation of famine as being predicted by international agencies. “We need to make the best use of our land by cultivating so that we don’t need to worry about a famine.”
Not a single piece of land should be left uncultivated across the country, she said, to feed the people.