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Police in Bangladesh Start Practicing Yoga to Cope with Covid-19 Stress

Police in Bangladesh Start Practicing Yoga to Cope with Covid-19 Stress

The long arm of the law is being stretched.

Police in Dhaka practise yoga as part of their morning routine.

The bending, stretching and deep breathing exercises are aimed at keeping them fit and healthy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

While yoga has no special powers to stop people contracting COVID-19, general good health helps those who contract the disease to cope with it better.

And with so much anxiety surrounding the virus, Rajon Kumar Saha, assistant commissioner at the Diplomatic Security Division, says these exercises help psychologically.

“COVID-19 created mental unrest among our force. The aim of performing yoga is to remove that. It is an exercise for the mind. This initiative has been taken to ease mental pressures,” he explains.

Bangladesh’s police force have been on the frontline, helping to enforce a nationwide lockdown that was eased at the end of May.

It’s no surprise that police officers are feeling the pressure.

Of Bangladesh’s almost 150,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 10,000 have been among the police force.

The Central Police Hospital in Dhaka is reserved for police officers and their family members, and has been busy treating cases.

More than 40 police officers have died from the disease.

But Mohammed Robiul Islam, Assistant Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, is among the majority to have survived.

“Coronavirus has spread vastly among the police which is not the case for any other essential service. The reason for that, we think, is that the procedures and methods of our job revolve around the people and being in their service,” he says.

He is now back on duty, briefing his officers and speaking to bus drivers to keep Dhaka’s traffic moving.

Islam says despite his diagnosis, he wasn’t afraid.

“Like everyone else, I never lost my spirit. I think that if you keep up the spirit and proper immunity is built in the body, coronavirus is nothing to worry about. There is nothing to be panic about. We need to spread awareness,” he says.

As cases surge across the country after the lockdown has eased, more police are displaying symptoms and getting tested.

Saiful Islam Shantu, administrator at the police hospital, says the biggest challenge for the hospital has been to provide mental support to those who test positive for the disease.

“We had to go to the patient, and we told them this is not a big disease, in fact, we try our level best to help them mentally. We try our level best to help that he has to think that he is not alone, all of us are with him,” he says.

A majority of policemen have recovered and have reported for duty.

They receive a rose and a small farewell ceremony from health workers and doctors as they leave the police hospital to go back home.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

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