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Bangladesh Extended ongoing Lockdown upto 5, May as Covid fatalities remain high

Shops, malls will be allowed to be open 10am to 8pm

The government has decided to extend the ongoing strict “lockdown” for another week in a bid to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The decision was made in line with suggestions by public health experts and considering the global Covid-19 situation, State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain said on Monday.

However, shops and malls will be allowed to be open from 10am to 8pm, he said. “An official notification is likely to be issued on Tuesday.”

The matter was discussed at an inter-ministerial meeting on Monday amid the horrifying surge of Covid-19 cases in India, a senior Civil Aviation Ministry official, who attended the meeting, told Dhaka Tribune.

Officials from different ministries, including health, home affairs, foreign affairs, public administration, and civil aviation, were present at the meeting.

The decision will be finalized at another meeting scheduled for Tuesday, the official added.

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A sudden rise in coronavirus infections and deaths prompted the government to initially issue an 18-point directive on March 29, and then go for a weeklong lockdown from April 5.

But as it failed to achieve the expected results, the government decided to enforce a “strict lockdown” from April 14 till 21, which was later extended until April 28.

During the lockdown, amid the growing demand, the Cabinet Division issued a notice on Friday, allowing shops and shopping malls to open for business from Sunday on the condition that they would maintain proper safety protocols.

The ongoing restrictions on public movement and other activities became almost relaxed with the reopening of the shops and shopping malls, along with more vehicles on the roads.

The fresh decision to extend the duration of lockdown coincided with the warning of Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader.

On Sunday, he said the government would impose a “strict lockdown” again if health safety rules were not followed everywhere.

In another development, Bangladesh has already sealed its border with India for the next two weeks to limit Covid-19 transmission from the neighbouring country. Trade through the borders will continue, however.

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In a media release, the Foreign Ministry said travelling through land borders would remain temporarily suspended from 6am on April 26 to 6pm on May 9.

The second wave of Covid-19 is ripping through India, with lack of hospital beds, medical oxygen and adequate healthcare bringing the nation to its knees.

According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), the highly infectious Indian variants of Sars-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes Covid-19, must be prevented from entering Bangladesh to tackle an inevitable disaster.

The DGHS recorded 97 more deaths from Covid-19 between Sunday and Monday mornings, taking the number of total fatalities in Bangladesh to 11,150.

The country also logged 3,306 fresh cases of infection in the same period of time, raising the total caseload to 748,628.



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