BANGLADESH: Bangladesh police have locked down a temple run by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), a Hindu religious organization, after 34 of its members were tested positive for coronavirus, officials said.
“As many as 34 members of ISKCON ashram in the capital’s Swamibag area have tested positive for coronavirus, and the temple has been completely locked down,” Aminul Islam, inspector investigation of Gendaria police station in Dhaka, told Anadolu Agency on Sunday.
An official at the temple, on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that some devotees in the temple had tested positive but said that their "health condition is stable.”
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The official refused to provide any details on the number of devotees inside the temple, and did not respond when asked if the religious site was still open, despite official orders to suspend religious activities during the pandemic.
Islam, however, said the temple was closed for visitors.
"Some of the ISKCON members are still inside the temple, which is closed for visitors for the last one month," he said. "But now no one will be allowed to enter or come out from the temple as it has been locked down.”
Meanwhile, according to Bdnews24, a local news agency, over 100 people are residing in the temple. The Desh Rupantor newspaper, quoting residents, put this number at over 300.
The South Asian nation recorded its first COVID-19 infection on March 8. On March 26 it imposed a lockdown, which is in place until May 5. Under the restrictions, only emergency services are allowed to operate.
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The Ministry of Religious Affairs issued an order on April 6, suspending all religious events, gatherings, and congregation prayers until further notice. Legal punitive measures will be taken against violators, it said.
For Tarawih prayers a maximum of 12 people, including the imam (who leads prayers) and muezzin (who calls for prayers), have been allowed in the mosque.
As of Sunday, 145 people have died of the virus while 122 have recovered in Bangladesh. Some 418 more were infected in the past 24 hours, bringing the national total to 5,416.
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