About 100,000 people attend funeral in Bangladesh sparking outbreak fears


An estimated 100,000 people gathered on Saturday in the district of Brahmanbaria to attend the funeral of Islamic teacher Maulana Zubayer Ahmad Ansari, in defiance of the Bangladeshi government’s lockdown orders.

The estimated size of the crowd was confirmed by the prime minister’s special assistant, Shah Ali Farhad and the Brahmanbaria police spokesman, Imtiaz Ahmed.

The funeral broke the country’s ban of no more than five people attending prayers at one time, sparking fears of a new coronavirus outbreak emerging from the event.

Most of the COVID-19 outbreaks in south Asian countries are tied to gathering for religious events in defiance of the government’s social distancing order.

Tens of thousands of people flooded the roads in the district, walking from the surrounding areas to attend the funeral, according to Mohammad Mamunul Haque, the joint secretary general of the Islamist party.

The police were unable to control the crowd, resulting in the officer in charge and assistant superintendent being withdrawn from the event and a committee being formed to start an investigation into how such a large crowd was allowed to congregate, according to SohelRana, the Bangladesh Police Central spokesman.

As of Sunday Bangladesh had recorded 2,456 positive cases of coronavirus and 91 deaths, but officials say the actual numbers are likely higher due to lack of testing kits. (Source: CNN)