Around 10,000 Muslim worshippers gathered in a prayer session in Bangladesh after the country reported its first death related to coronavirus to pray “healing verses” from the Quran to protect the country from the pandemic.
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Local police said the mass gathering took place in an open field in the town of Raipur, southern Bangladesh, on Wednesday.
Police chief Tota Miah told news agency AFP: “They held the Khatme Shifa prayers after dawn to free the country from the coronavirus.”
Organisers of the gathering, who police say did not secure permission to hold it, claimed there were 25,000 attendees.
Images of the prayer session shared on social media were widely criticised, with people calling the gathering “unbelievable”.
The Bangladeshi government have closed down schools and advised the public to avoid gatherings of more than ten people to curb the spread of coronavirus, which has infected 14 people in the south Asian nation.
But with many ignoring the warnings and heading to tourism sites and mass gatherings instead, authorities are considering imposing a lockdown.
Obaidul Quader, a senior leader from ruling party Awami League, told reporters: “If necessary, Bangladesh will be shut down. It’ll be enforced where necessary.
“People must be saved first. We’ll do everything for that.”
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