Bangladesh puts off reopening schools over virus fears

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DHAKA, Bangladesh

Amid concerns over rising COVID-19 cases, Bangladesh Thursday announced that schools across the country will remain closed indefinitely.

The government was aiming to resume in-person education – suspended for over a year now – from March 30 but retracted the decision in view of a recent surge in coronavirus infections.

The country reported 25 fatalities and 3,567 cases, the highest daily figure in nine months on Wednesday, taking its overall count past 580,000 and the death toll to 8,763.

Education Minister Dipu Moni said campuses may reopen after the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in mid-May, but only if there is a significant improvement in the country’s COVID-19 situation by the time.

She stressed that the government does not want to put students at any sort of risk.

The Education Ministry, however, has instructed schools across the country to be prepared and start implementing safety measures for students and staff.

“The government will soon start a vaccination drive for school teachers so that in-person education can restart in the country,” Moni said.

Bangladesh launched a nationwide COVID-19 immunization drive on Feb. 7 and more than 5 million people have received their first or both doses to date.

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