The cabinet meeting was held virtually with prime minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. The prime minister joined it through a videoconference from Ganobhaban, while other cabinet members got connected from the Bangladesh secretariat.

The cabinet secretary said divisional commissioners have also given directives to ensure the display of a message outside every government and private office that one must enter the office without wearing a mask.

Besides, the Islamic Foundation has been instructed to ask the imams of mosques for spreading the message after prayers—at least twice a day—that wearing masks is a government order.

The cabinet also gave the final approval to the draft of the Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amendment) Bill, 2020 to enact a law through parliament repealing a recent ordinance promulgated allowing death penalty alongside life term imprisonment as punishment for rape.

The Women and Children Repression Prevention (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 was promulgated as Parliament was not in session at that time, Khandker Anwarul Islam.

“If an ordinance is promulgated in the absence of a parliament session, it is to place the ordinance in parliament on the very first day of the next session. So, what was brought in the format of an ordinance was placed in the cabinet as the draft of an act,” he said.

The cabinet also approved the draft speech of president Abdul Hamid to be delivered at the special session to begin on 8 November next marking the Mujib Borsha on the occasion of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

The president will deliver the speech in the beginning of the special session (10th session of the 11th Parliament in 2020), said the cabinet secretary.

“The speech will mainly focus on the life, works and political philosophy of the Father of the Nation,” he said.

Besides, the speech will highlight the government’s measures taken to face the COVID-19 pandemic and other government activities that keep the wheels of the economy moving, said Anwarul Islam.

President Abdul Hamid on 21 October called the special session of parliament and it was scheduled to begin on 22 March last, but it had to be suspended following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The cabinet was informed about the participation of Bangladesh representatives led by the prime minister in the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly through the virtual platform from 21 September to 2 October.

The cabinet was also informed about the activities of the health and family welfare ministry in the face of the COVID-19.

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