1st LD Writethru: Bangladesh announces reopening universities in May amid vaccination rollout

Bangladesh's Education Minister Dipu Moni on Monday announced that universities in the country will reopen on May 24.

The university halls will reopen on May 17, the minister added.

Prior to the reopening, Moni said all the residential students, teachers and employees in universities will be vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of health safety measures.

Also Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday asked the country's Education Ministry for ensuring first the inoculation of teachers and other education officials, said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam.

He said Monday's cabinet meeting with the prime minister also asked the Education Ministry to start soon discussions on the reopening of schools and colleges with all stakeholders.

He said an inter-ministerial meeting would be convened shortly to review whether or when to reopen schools and colleges as the countrywide vaccination rollout offered the opportunity for students to return to their educational institutions.

Nearly 3 million people in Bangladesh have so far taken the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine, paving the way for reopening universities.

The Bangladeshi government is planning to administer COVID-19 vaccines to 16.9 million people from varied high-risk groups including teaching professionals on a priority basis.

The government-ordered closure of educational institutions nationwide started from March 17 last year as part of the country's efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.

The closure has been extended repeatedly and the latest extension from Feb. 14 to Feb. 28 was in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the current cold weather.

Since March 8, 2020, the coronavirus has spread to nearly every Bangladeshi district and the official data showed the national tally for COVID-19 infections has increased to 543,717 with 8,356 deaths so far.

Bangladesh recorded 366 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 cases and seven new deaths on Monday, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said.

The official data showed that 11,103 samples were tested in the last 24 hours across Bangladesh.

The total number of recovered patients from the coronavirus epidemic in the country rose to 492,059 including 692 new recoveries on Monday, said the DGHS.

According to the official data, the COVID-19 fatality rate in Bangladesh is now 1.54 percent and recovery rate is 90.50 percent. 

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