Gazette issued extending lockdown to battle Covid-19 spike
Large crowds in shopping malls and the streets of Dhaka ignored the ongoing lockdown.
The government issued a fresh gazette notification extending the ongoing lockdown till May 5 from April 28, considering the current surge in coronavirus infections throughout the country.
"Considering the present situation of Covid-19 infections, the ongoing countrywide restrictions have been extended till midnight of 5 May," said the gazette notification issued by the cabinet division here on Wednesday.
During this period, all restrictions will remain in force as before. That means public transport and offices, except in emergencies, will be closed. However, shops and shopping malls can be open from 10 am to 8 pm by maintaining all the necessary health guidelines, said the official release.
In the latest official circular, the government has added a few more restrictions. According to the new order, there is a strict embargo on access of any person except commodity transportation from India to Bangladesh, using land, water, or air ports.
However, Bangladeshis whose visa tenure has already expired can enter Bangladesh under special consideration by the Bangladesh High Commission in India.
Bangladeshis who enter Bangladesh must stay in quarantine for 14 days as per the rules of the Directorate General of Health Services and concerned health services divisions. The public security division, shipping ministry, and deputy commissioners will take necessary action in this regard.
The Ministries of Commerce and Labour, concerned trade bodies, and market management committees, will take necessary steps to enforce health guidelines. Legal action will be taken against those who ignore the restrictions.
For the Eid-ul-Fitr prayers, a programme schedule will be set as per instructions of the religious affairs ministry, said the gazette notification.
Passengers who have Covid-19 free certificates and certificates of Covid-19 vaccination coming from the Middle East, Singapore, and China must self quarantine for 14 days at home with permission from local physicians.
They have to inform their concerned police station about their arrival and quarantine.
But travellers who come to Bangladesh from other countries have to quarantine in hotels at their own cost, the circular added.
Crowds of Eid shoppers on roads, shopping malls
Dhaka had huge crowds on roads and shopping centers on Wednesday, the 15th day of the lockdown.
Although there was no public transport, private cars, CNGs, rickshaws, or auto rickshaws, the number of pedestrians was significant.
Police was not checking movement passes on the streets and law enforcement check posts have also been lifted.
Ramna Zone Traffic Sergeant Morshedul Islam told TBS, "As before, we are taking care of public health issues and safety seriously, checking movement passes and also prosecuting many people for breaking the law."
"However, there has been some flexibility and relaxation following the recent incidents of disputes between law enforcement and the public," he added.
There were huge crowds of shoppers at Bashundhara City Shopping Mall, New Market, Chandni Chawk, Gausia, Noor Mansion, and Chandrima Super Markets in the capital ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Many people were not abiding by hygiene rules or maintaining social distancing either. Nor were many shopkeepers or customers wearing masks properly. Some were wearing masks on their chins.
To control coronavirus infection, the government first imposed restrictions on various areas, including public transport, for seven days from 5 April. Later, it extended restrictions for two more days.
As the situation got out of control, an 'all-out lockdown' began from 14 to 21 April with stricter restrictions. It was later extended to 28 April. Meanwhile, shops and shopping malls have been opened for a certain period of time.
Earlier, the Bangladesh government decided to close the border with India on 25 April due to the dire coronavirus conditions in India. The border with the India will remain closed for the next 14 days from 26 April.