General holiday should be extended by a week: UN expert

Bangla Tribune Desk
Published : 20:34, Mar 30, 2020 | Updated : 20:45, Mar 30, 2020

Army patrolling streets in Dhaka amid the general holiday announced to stop the spread of coronavirus.A Bangladeshi-born UN public health specialist has said the nationwide holidays, due to expire on Apr 4, should be extended for at least one more week.

“Bangladesh is in a better situation compared to other countries in the neighborhood,” Professor Zahid Haque, a doctor by background, told BSS in an interview as he is currently working with healthcare officials in Bangladesh in view of coronavirus.

He however stressed that the shutdown ought to be extended for at least one more week as the next few days appeared to be very crucial in understanding the course of the pandemic in Bangladesh, reports BSS.

“The Covid-19 virus develops in five days while its symptoms are seen within 14 days highest . . . only thing which has to be primarily done is to keep the patient isolated,” he said.

Haque, also a UN adviser, said Covid-19 patients could be treated like patients of all other normal flu and urged all not to use any antibiotics and painkiller as the coronavirus is a viral disease.

He also said the nationwide 10-day holiday alongside troops deployment to enforce social distancing proved effective in preventing Covid-19 spread in Bangladesh.

Haque, a Senior Advisor of United Nations’ World Sports Alliance for Asia Pacific Region, said the enforcement drive should create awareness among people instead of panic, while BNCC cadets and Rover Scouts could be called in to spearhead the anti-Covid-19 campaign.

“Our message is – don’t panic as it is a very simple disease that can be contained if everyone follows government’s health guidelines,” he said.

Haque also reiterated a health advisory suggesting that “the coronavirus is not an airborne disease” but it is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person, generated through coughing and sneezing and touching the surfaces contaminated with the virus.

“The Covid-19 virus may survive on surfaces for several hours, but simple disinfectants can kill it,” he said.

Haque said the only one more COVID-19 was detected on Monday after two days of lull while the toll even has not increased after the virus claimed five lives, a scenario that reflected the effectiveness of the government steps declaring a 10-day holiday.

Bangladesh has so far confirmed five deaths and 49 infections from Covid-19, a new strain of coronavirus.

The fast spreading coronavirus, which was first reported in China's Wuhan, has infected 722,196 people and claimed 33,976 lives till 10am on Monday, according to

Globally, a total of 151,766 infected people have also recovered from Covid-19, a pandemic announced by the World Health Organization (WHO).