With a fresh spike in coronavirus infections feared amid the post-Eid rush of people and the detection of the highly contagious Indian variant of the virus in Bangladesh, the government has extended the ongoing countrywide lockdown for another week from today in an effort to curb the spread of the deadly pathogen.
The Cabinet Division issued a gazette notification on Sunday in this regard.According to the notification, the shutdown will remain in force until May 23 midnight.
This time, all departments and organisations involved in the collection of government revenue have been placed in the category of emergency services as the government is likely to place the national budget for 2021-2022 fiscal year in Parliament on June 3.
Launch, train and inter-district bus services will remain shut while intra-district public transport operations will be allowed. But the operators must go by the health guidelines. Adhering to safety protocols, shops and malls can be kept open from 10:00am to 8:00pm.
Besides, shops that sell food items, hotels and restaurants will only be allowed to provide takeaway or online services during the period, the circular said.
While talking to reporters on Sunday, State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain said they have taken the decision to extend the lockdown by seven days from today as a fresh surge in coronavirus infections is feared after Eid.
On May 8 last, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) confirmed the detection of the Indian strain, which was classified by the World Health Organization as a "variant of global concern", in Bangladesh.The strain of the virus has been found in samples of two people who had been in India.
Earlier, the government on May 5 extended the lockdown for 11 more days to May 16 allowing intra-district transport services. Besides, shops and malls are permitted to operate from 10:00am to 8:00pm.
Prior to that, the government imposed an apparently lax nationwide lockdown for one week from April 5 as the coronavirus cases continued to rise alarmingly from mid-March.
But the government allowed the resumption of public transport services in city corporation areas from April 7 as well as reopening of shops and markets for five days from April 9 in the face of protests against the lockdown. The apparently relaxed lockdown was extended by two more days until April 13.
As per the suggestions of health experts, the government enforced a stricter lockdown from April 14 to April 22.
Later, another gazette notification was issued extending the shutdown by another week to April 28 and then until May 5.
As the coronavirus situation has taken a serious turn in India, the government closed the borders with the neighbouring country from April 26.