The government has decided to enforce a complete countrywide lockdown for seven days from Thursday following a deadly surge in both deaths and infections from coronavirus driven by the Delta variant of the virus.
Stricter restrictions will come into force at 6:00am on the day after the end of a series of curbs that were imposed on Monday.The decision to impose the strict lockdown came as the country continued to smash the record for most deaths and infections from the virus.
Over the last 24 hours till Monday, record 8,364 new cases were reported in the country. Previous highest 7,626 infections were logged on April 7 last.
The grim record came a day after the country recorded highest daily deaths from the virus. On Sunday, Bangladesh registered 119 virus-related deaths, highest single-day tally since the pandemic.
Addressing a press briefing after the Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said, “There’ll be strict restrictions from 6:00am on July 1 to July 7 midnight on the instructions of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina following a rise in coronavirus infections.”
If necessary, restrictions might be extended for another week, he said, adding that a notification will be issued today in this regard.
Apart from police, members of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and Bangladesh Army will be on patrol to ensure that restrictions are followed strictly, the Cabinet secretary said. “They’ve been given as much authority as possible to take necessary action.” “No one will be allowed to leave their houses unless there’s an emergency. There’ll be no movement pass during the lockdown. Services of all modes of public transport will be suspended. Except emergency services, government and private offices, shopping malls, markets and shops will remain closed,” he added.Anwarul said a decision will be taken today about whether mills and factories, including ready-made garment ones, will be kept open during the complete lockdown.
He said they have taken the decision after analysing the coronavirus situation in four divisions.
The Prime Minister has given directives to the Ministry of Disaster to take necessary measures bring the poor people in town areas under the social safety net programme, the Cabinet secretary said.
As the country’s coronavirus situation has taken a serious turn, the government imposed some fresh restrictions, banning all modes of public transport except rickshaws and shutting down markets from Monday.
All government and private offices have to arrange own transport to carry a limited number of officials and employees to working stations during the fresh restrictions. All shopping malls, markets, resorts, tourist spots, community and recreation centres remained closed.
Food shops, hotels and restaurants can remain open from 8:00am to 8:00pm only for providing takeaway/online services.
Earlier, the government on June 16 last extended the ongoing countrywide ‘so-called’ lockdown by one month until July 15 keeping all government and private offices, autonomous organisations, banks and financial institutions open.
On June 14, the government extended the border closure with India to June 30 following the worsening coronavirus situation.
On June 6, the government extended the countrywide lockdown for 10 days until June 16, saying the deputy commissioners of high-risk districts could take necessary measures, including announcing lockdown in their respective areas, after discussion with the local representatives and the committees concerned.
Due to a rise in coronavirus cases from mid-March, the government imposed a relaxed lockdown for one week from April 5.
But the government allowed 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 relaxed lockdown was extended for 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, which was extended until July 15 in phases.
As the coronavirus situation has taken a serious turn in India, the government closed the borders with the neighbouring country from April 26.
On May 8 last, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) confirmed the detection of the Delta variant, which was classified by the World Health Organization as a "variant of global concern", in Bangladesh.