The government has again extended by 10 more days the existing restrictions on public movement and gathering, aimed at curbing the spread of deadly Covid-19 that has killed over 12,800 people around Bangladesh so far.
The so-called nationwide lockdown was supposed to end on Sunday at midnight. Now, the restrictions will remain in place until June 16 at midnight, said a notification issued by the Cabinet Division on Sunday.
According to the new directive, all tourist spots, resorts, community and entertainment centres will remain closed. No social, political and religious gathering will be allowed.
All types of public transport, including long-haul services, will be allowed to operate at half capacity. But everyone concerned, including passengers, drivers and their assistants, will have to wear face masks and follow the health safety rules.
All restaurants and eateries will be allowed to offer dine-in facilities at half capacity between 6am and 10pm every day. They will also continue to provide online, takeaway or home delivery services.
In coordination with the technical committee concerned, the deputy commissioners of districts that have turned into Covid-19 hotspots will be able to take any step they find necessary to curb the virus transmission.
As Covid-19 cases kept growing at an alarming rate since mid-March, the government had imposed a “loose nationwide lockdown” for one week from April 5 to contain the spread.
Later, a “stricter” set of restrictions on public movement and gathering were announced from April 14 to 21. Since then, the restrictions were extended several times considering the situation.
However, until Sunday morning, Bangladesh recorded 810,990 cases and 12,839 deaths from the deadly disease, which was first detected in the country back in March last year.
With public transports operating, shopping malls and shops open, and Covid-19 cases soaring in frontier districts because of the highly contagious Indian variant, experts fear that Bangladesh may face the worst outbreak of the deadly virus at the end of June.
They said that if the Indian variant can make its way into other areas from the bordering districts, Bangladesh is likely to witness more than 20,000 cases a day in early July, raising the fatality rate sharply.
Lack of necessary oxygen supply and other healthcare facilities may aggravate the situation, said the experts.
On April 26, Bangladesh had also closed its border with India to prevent the further spread of Covid-19 and the new variant. The travel ban on general people was extended multiple times since then. Recently, the ban was extended again until June 14.
However, several border districts recently had to impose strict lockdowns after number of cases and deaths spiked alarmingly. But locals were reportedly seen flouting the rules and going about their businesses amid the lockdown.