A handful of officials and employees are now attending offices at the Bangladesh Secretariat to support emergency services under various ministries and divisions during the ongoing restrictions on public movement and overall activities aimed at containing the worsening Covid situation.

The ministries of health, home affairs, information, food, relief, power and energy, civil aviation, shipping, roads, local government and agriculture have links to emergency services like healthcare, law and order, vaccination, power, gas and water supplies and transport of essential goods, including agricultural inputs, said officials.

Several officials on Tuesday said that the ministries and divisions were partially open and they had to attend offices to monitor and facilitate emergency services during the shutdown from the secretariat, where entry of visitors has been restricted.

The government on Tuesday extended the current restrictions till April 28 midnight to check the Covid outbreak that has so far killed 10,683 people and infected 7,32,060   since its first detection in the country in March 2020. 

A senior official at the public administration ministry said that officials and employees at the Cabinet Division and the home ministry needed to work in any emergency situation and even during holidays on any occasion and most desks at the health ministry were now open in the Covid situation.

Around five per cent officials attend offices on emergency while some dispose of important files online, a Power Division deputy secretary told New Age on Tuesday.

The official said that the minister, the secretary or any senior official usually called only the officials and employees who were necessary to offices during an emergency to avoid unnecessary gathering during the coronavirus pandemic.

Finance Division officials said that only 10 to 15 officials, including finance secretary Abur Rauf Talukder, attended the office on Tuesday as they were working on the next budget, they said.

The division has 400 officials and employees and many of them attend office online if necessary, said an official at the administrative hub.

Cabinet secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam also attended the office on Tuesday, said an official.

Besides, Financial Institution Division secretary Md Ashadul Islam and commerce secretary Md Jafar Uddin, among others, attended their respective offices.

Asked about the office attendance during the restrictions, state minister for public administration Farhad Hossain earlier said that emergency services like relief distribution, healthcare, electricity supply, power and gas supply, fire service and ports as well as the law enforcement agencies remained outside the purview of the restrictions.

Only officials and employees essential to support emergency services and relief activities would attend offices maintaining health guidelines, he said.

The government on April 12 announced the closure of all government and non-government offices for eight days, imposing further restrictions on public movement and overall activities from 6:00am on April 14 to 21 midnight to check the Covid outbreak.



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