Lockdown extended for two days

Special Correspondent

12 April, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Inter-district buses will not be allowed to run on the next two days (Monday and Tuesday) across the country before an all-out lockdown is set to be imposed for a week from Wednesday.

The ongoing restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus will continue for Monday and Tuesday, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said during a regular briefing on Sunday.

The weeklong countrywide lockdown ended Sunday and an all-out lockdown is likely to be imposed for a week from 14 April.

Meanwhile, recommendations from a high-level meeting for the countrywide general holidays have been sent to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Earlier, in the meeting, like the previous year, experts stressed the need for general holidays to contain the spread of coronavirus. A new announcement will follow as soon as the Prime Minister gives her decision.

Bangladesh is set to go into a weeklong lockdown with strict measures from Wednesday--- during which offices will be shut.

The current lockdown will end at midnight on Sunday. However, shopping malls and markets have been reopened amid the lockdown, in face of protests from shop owners and employees, and public transport service was reinstated in the cities following demands from office goers.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the government might opt for harsher measures to control the Covid-19 surge.

On Friday, Obaidul Quader revealed that the government was planning for a new lockdown from April 14 as the ongoing lockdown failed to change the people’s behaviour during the pandemic.

Later on the day, State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain that the new lockdown will come with strict measures.

All government, semi-government and private organizations, except for emergency service providers, will remain closed, he said, adding: “Everyone will be under the purview of the lockdown.”

Meanwhile, people in large number continued to leave the capital for their ancestral homes using alternative ways. Passengers were seen sitting side by side in many small vehicles, posing a serious risk of coronavirus infection.

They are leaving the capital by different small vehicles including private cars, microbuses, CNG run –auto-rickshaws and even pickup vans without maintaining any health guidelines including social distance and wearing face masks.    

Movement of all long-distance buses remained off during the week-long countrywide lockdown which started on Monday last.

During the lockdown, no inter-district buses left the capital’s Gabtali, Mohakhali and Sayeedabad terminals for other destinations.

At the same time, no Dhaka-bound buses also left different district bus terminals.   

Amid the rising trend of coronavirus infection, the government on Tuesday ordered all public transports to run with 50 per cent passengers of its carrying capacity from Wednesday. Besides, public transport fare was also increased by 60 per cent.

As per the government instruction, the city bus services resumed operations on different city streets including Dhaka, Chattogram, Rajshahi, Khulna and Sylhet on Wednesday giving relief to the commuters.

Private cars, rickshaws and auto-rickshaws, microbus and CNG-run auto-rickshaws and many motorcycles sharing rides on contract were seen plying the streets like the previous days.