Bangladesh has enforced weeklong stricter lockdown measures from 6am Wednesday as the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country harder in recent weeks.
Coronavirus cases in the country have been surging steeply from the second week of March taking the tally to 697,985. The death toll from the dreaded virus here now stands at 9,891.
The government announced a set of restrictions to be imposed during the nationwide lockdown from 14-21 April.
Lockdown restrictions at a glance
- All government, semi-government, autonomous and private offices / financial institutions will be closed and all employees must take position at their work stations. However, this rule is not applicable to air, sea, river, land ports and their concerned offices;
- All modes of transports (road, sea, rail, domestic and international flights) will be closed. this order is not applicable in case of transportation of commodities, production and emergency services;
- Industries and factories will be run by their own management complying with the health guidelines. However, the organisations have to ensure transportation of their workers.
- Law enforcement and other emergency services such as agricultural elements (fertilizer, seeds, pesticides, equipment etc), crops and transportation, relief distribution, health services, covid-19 vaccination, electricity, water, gas/petroleum, fire service, port activities (land, river, sea), telephone and internet (government- private), media (print and electronic media), private security systems, post and other emergency and essential products and services related offices, their employees and vehicles are not included in the ban;
- Except for absolute necessity (medicine and daily essential products, treatment, burial/funeral etc), no one can go outside. However, one can go for vaccination by showing the vaccine card.
- Food shops and hotels-restaurants will be open for takeaway/online from 12 pm to 7 pm and 12 am to 6 am. Shopping malls and other shops will be closed.
- Kitchen markets materials and daily necessities can be bought and sold in the open from 9am to 3pm in accordance with hygiene rules. Market authorities / local administration will confirm the matter
- The district administration will coordinate the transportation of agricultural labourers in urgent need of Boro paddy harvesting.
- District and field administrations across the country will take effective steps to implement the guidelines and law enforcement will intensify regular patrols;
- Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) will give the necessary powers to the district administration and the police department to take legal action on his behalf;
- Ministry of Religious Affairs will issue guidelines on the congregation of Jumma and Tarabi prayers following health rules.
- In order to implement the appropriate instructions, the concerned Ministry / Department may issue supplementary instructions as required.
Banks to remain open on limited scale
Following an instruction of the Cabinet Division, the Bangladesh Bank asked all banks to operate on a limited scale for seven days during the lockdown.
Banks will remain open from 10am to 1pm to facilitate financial transactions. However, the bank authorities are allowed to conduct internal official activities until 2:30pm.
As per the new schedule, branches of a bank located within two kilometres in a city corporation area will remain open on alternate days. Upazila level branches will also remain open for three days (Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday). Local or principal branches, district sadar branches and foreign trade branches will remain open regularly.
All healthcare institutions to remain open
The Health Services Division (HSD) of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued a directive on Tuesday stating that all departments, offices, institutions, and hospitals operating under the division will remain open as usual during the newly imposed strict lockdown.
During this period, the officers and employees of all the departments, offices, and institutions under HSD must be present at their respective workplaces and perform their duties in accordance with the health rules, the directive stated.
Movement Pass needed to go out of home
Police are issuing "movement pass" to people based on their needs amid the lockdown.
People can obtain the pass through an app by visiting: movementpass.police.gov.bd.
Some 30,000 movement passes till this evening, according to data from Police Headquarters.
Thousands left Dhaka with uncertain future ahead
Since last week, scores of workers, particularly blue-collar job holders, were leaving Dhaka in a hurry. The exodus intensified over the last two days because of the weeklong lockdown starting today.
With the suspension of inter-district buses and other modes of transport as part of the lockdown, civilians felt as though they were stranded.
Desperate, many sought unconventional ways – that too at a high price – to reach their village homes.
They all seemed to be gripped by a strong sense of urgency. Anguished and panicked, workers in thousands were scrambling to find any possible means to reach their hometowns.