Bangladesh minister dies of coronavirus; lecturer charged over Facebook virus post - GulfToday

Bangladesh minister dies of coronavirus; lecturer charged over Facebook virus post


Relatives pray after the burial of a man who died due to the coronavirus at a graveyard in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Reuters

A government minister in Bangladesh has died of COVID-19, German press agency, dpa, quoted officials as saying on Sunday.

Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, 75, the state minister for religious affairs, died soon after he was rushed to Dhaka's Combined Military Hospital on Saturday night, his personal aide Nazmul Haque Shaikat said.

Ministry spokesman Anwar Hossain said the physicians collected a sample after Abdullah was declared dead and he was tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Hossain said, referring to the test report available on Sunday.

Bangladeshburial-750x450A relative wearing protective suit reacts while burying the body of a man who died due to the coronavirus at a graveyard in Dhaka. Reuters

Abdullah is the first government minister to die of the virus in Bangladesh. Two other ministers of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's cabinet are undergoing treatment for coronavirus.

Bangladesh, which reported its first three cases of the deadly virus in March, has since reported more than 88,000 infections with more than 1,171 deaths as of Sunday.

Nasima Sultana, additional director general of the Health Directorate, said a junior minister from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s cabinet and a former health minister and close aide to Hasina both died of the virus on Saturday in Dhaka, the capital.

Bangladesh’s main state-run hospitals are overwhelmed, with many critical COVID-19 patients being deprived of intensive care beds and ventilators.


A Bangladesh university lecturer has been charged under controversial digital security laws for allegedly mocking an ex-health minister who died of coronavirus, the latest in a string of arrests over social media posts about the epidcemic.

The detention late Saturday of Sirajum Munira, 28, came after former health minister Mohammad Nasim died of the virus.

There is growing concern about the spread of the virus across the impoverished country, which has been re-opening after a lockdown despite rising new cases.

Activists say internet laws are being used to suppress criticism of the government's handling the epidemic.

"She posted a derogatory comment on the death of Mohammad Nasim. She mocked a dead person," local police chief Rabiul Islam said.

"It went viral and created negative reactions and undermined the image of the country."

Munira, a lecturer at northern Begum Rokeya University, later apologised and deleted her comments after posting them on Facebook.

At least 44 people have been arrested and charged since March under internet laws for allegedly spreading rumour and propaganda.

The virus has claimed the lives of a swathe of prominent Bangladeshis, including business tycoons, bureaucrats and senior doctors.



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