B'desh cleric tests COVID-positive after leading prayer

Bangladesh cleric tests positive for coronavirus after leading Ramzan prayers

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A Muslim cleric has tested positive for the deadly coronavirus after he conducted Ramzan prayers for a group of nearly two dozen people at a local mosque in southwest Bangladesh, according to a media report.

The cleric led the prayers at a mosque in Adadanga village in Magura district on Saturday and was found to be infected with the disease the following day, bdnews24 reported.

According to the report, authorities are making a list of around 20-25 people who attended the prayers and they will be tested for any symptom of the virus.

Tanveer Rahman, chief executive officer of Shalikha sub district, was quoted as saying in the report that the cleric's Bagharpara Pashchima village, which is one-and-a-half kilometres from the mosque, has been put under lockdown following the discovery.

Bangladesh reported 5,416 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 145 deaths till Sunday.

The country had on April 6 suspended prayers for the public at mosques in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs issued an emergency notice restricting the congregation in mosques and urging the public to pray at home.

The notice also said that a maximum of 10 people can attend the weekly Friday prayers in mosques. The government also restricted visits to other places of worship.

Bangladesh has decided to extend the nationwide COVID-19 shutdown until May 5 amid warnings of heightening risks of coronavirus infections in the country, including among doctors and healthcare workers.

To curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, the government had initially declared a general holiday on March 26 for 10 days. Later, that was gradually extended till April 25 as the country kept seeing a rise in the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19.

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