Educational institutions across Bangladesh will be suspended for the next two weeks to help stem the spread of coronavirus after the number of cases rose to eight, an official said Monday.
"Primarily we decided to close the educational institutions on March 17-31, and further decisions will be taken after March 31, if necessary," Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury, the country's deputy education minister, told Anadolu Agency.
The decision came amid fears of the virus' spread as three more Bangladeshi citizens from the same family were reported positive on Monday, rising the tally to eight.
Later, Education Minister Dipu Moni gave details of the suspension.
“The government has decided to close all academic institutions, including primary to higher level, and dormitories until March 31, considering the growing public concern,” she told reporters.
Coaching centers across the country will have also close, she added, saying that government from the central to local level will monitor that the decision is implemented properly and students stay home.
Decisions will be made later on upcoming public exams set for April, to see if they will be held or suspended, she said.
After emerging in Wuhan, China last December, the coronavirus has now spread to at least 146 countries and territories, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The global death toll now numbers around 6,500, with around 170,000 confirmed cases, according to WHO.
While WHO recently declared the global outbreak a pandemic, its head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the situation was controllable.
In his remarks at a March 3 briefing on COVID-19, he added that the mortality rate from the virus is around 3.4%.