Country set to enter post-holiday period

Shawkat Ali Khan

29 May, 2020 12:00 AM printer

Bangladesh is set to enter a post-holiday period from Sunday after two months as the government ordered the reopening of different sectors on a limited scale amid the ongoing wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led government has taken the decision to keep the wheel of the economy running which has been hard-hit due to the long holiday, insiders in the government said.

“How long, the government will be able to continue the general holiday? We must reopen every sector gradually,” said an official at the Prime Minister’s Office.

Road Transport and Bridges minister Obaidul Quader on Thursday said that many countries have gradually relaxed the shutdown and Bangladesh’s limited easing is part of that process too. 

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken the decision after consulting with experts. We have overcome many crises under her courageous and bold leadership. Instead of losing confidence, all should keep faith on her and assist the government,” he said. 

The Cabinet Division on Thursday issued a notification mentioning that all government, semi-government, autonomous bodies and private offices will conditionally remain open between May 31 and June 15.

Going by the conditions and ensuring health guidelines, public transport, including water vessels and railways with specific number of passengers can also be operated during the time, said the notification, adding that the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh could think of resuming its operation under its own management.

But the educational institutions will

remain closed.

After the first death reported in Bangladesh on March 18 due to COVID-19, the government slowly went for shutting down the country to check the spread of the virus and finally announced the general leave to address the pandemic.

Besides taking different initiatives in ensuring people’s safety, the Awami League-led government also announced stimulus packages to keep the wheel of the economy running during the time.

The government on March 23 declared a 10-day national holidays for the first time for all public and private offices, except emergency services, from March 26 to April 4 to control the spreading of the deadly bug.

Amid the rise of the new coronavirus cases, the general leave has been extended till May 30.

The government has also put a ban on all kinds of social, political and religious gatherings to check spreading of the virus.

Entry of foreign nationals through the land ports —-Benapole, Bhomra, Banglabandha, Hili, Burimari, Roumari, Darshana, Nakugaaon, Tamabil, Sheola and Akhaura —was also banned until further notice.

However, a notification issued on April 25 also included directive that all the ministries, divisions and their subordinate offices involved in providing emergency services will remain open on a limited scale during the extended general holidays.

Earlier, the government closed all the educational institutions apart from shutting down the rail, road, river and air communications to prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus.

Despite the high risk of coronavirus transmission, some garment factories reopened on April 26 and factory owners claim they are operating garment factories with the workers available in Dhaka on a limited scale maintaining hygiene issues.

Bangladesh has so far reported 559 deaths in the country while at least 40321 patients have been detected with the bug.

The COVID-19, first reported in China’s Wuhan province, has spread to over 200 countries across the globe.

Death toll from the coronavirus or COVID-19 has climbed to 355,956 globally while 5707163 have been infected with the deadly virus till filing the report at 6:00pm.

Daily Sun has been vocal for reopening all sectors for the sake of the economy and ran stories in this regard.

Different professional bodies, including the Press Club and Dhaka Reporters Unity have remained shut as per the directives of the government.

With the easing of the restrictions, such bodies are also set to open from June 1.