More than 100,000 people defied coronavirus lockdown rules to attend the funeral of a popular religious cleric.
Officials in Bangladesh has tightened a clampdown in seven villages as a result of the mass gathering.
It comes amid fears the killer virus – which has claimed more than 160,000 lives worldwide – could have spread among mourners.
The funeral happened in the Brahmanbaria district, about 50 miles east of capital Dhaka.
After pictures circulated showing people packed in close to each other, a police spokesman told Reuters: “We’ve strictly ordered all residents of the seven villages to stay at home at all times at least for the next 14 days so we can identify if anyone contracted the virus following Saturday’s gathering.”
Police had not expected such a large number of people to
attend the funeral, defying a weeks-long lockdown that
forbids going out except for groceries and medicine.
Local media said few of the mourners wore masks.
The government has ordered the two most senior policemen in the district to be removed from duty for failing to prevent crowds gathering for the funeral prayers of Maulana Jubayer Ahmed Ansari who died of cancer, the police said.
Bangladesh has 2,456 confirmed coronavirus cases and 91
deaths. The government-imposed lockdown is in place until at least April 25 but many are starting to flout the rules – including garment workers who took to the streets over the weekend demanding back pay.
Powerful religious leaders are also continuing to allow small congregations at mosques despite the risk of contagion and warnings from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Many people are still attending Friday prayers and the start
of the holy fasting month of Ramadan later this week, when
typically more worshippers will gather at mosques, will put
additional pressure on authorities, officials said.