Bangladesh plans 14-day complete shutdown amid COVID surge

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The government is “seriously considering” a complete nationwide shutdown for 14 days on experts’ recommendation to break a surge in coronavirus amid stricter restrictions in parts of the country.

“We will do whatever is necessary after reviewing the situation to bring down infections,” State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain said on Thursday night.

The National Technical Advisory Committee on COVID-19 in a meeting earlier recommended the enforcement of a full lockdown for two weeks, with a shutdown of all activities, including public transport services, offices and courts, except for emergency services, to rein in the surging coronavirus cases.

The state minister said the government was trying to curb the spread of the coronavirus by putting restrictions locally.

The expert committee, however, cast doubts on the effectiveness of staggered lockdown measures.

The health system will become overwhelmed unless strict measures are taken immediately, it warned.

“We are watching the situation closely. A decision will be taken anytime,” State Minister Farhad said.

On Thursday, Bangladesh reported 6,058 new COVID-19 cases, the most since Apr 12, taking the tally of infections to 872,935.

The death toll rose by 81 to 13,868.