Bangladesh to resume lockdown on Friday with ‘strictest’ curbs yet: state minister

Bangladesh is sticking to its plan to reimpose a nationwide lockdown on Jul 23, with the latest restrictions set to be tougher than at any time before to contain a resurgent coronavirus pandemic, State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain said.

The government had earlier lifted a nine-day lockdown for the Eid-ul-Azha holidays but said the restrictions would be back in place from Friday.

However, rumours began swirling that the restrictions may be postponed until after the holidays, prompting Farhad to set the record straight.

"The lockdown will come into effect on Friday as we had previously announced. There hasn't been any change in our plans,” he told bdnews24.com on Thursday.

Asked if those who had left Dhaka for the Eid break would have a chance to return before the lockdown, the state minister added, "Let those who have left stay put until Aug 5 since everything is closed."

The government would be enforcing the lockdown more strictly this time in view of the surge in coronavirus infections due to the relaxation of restrictions ahead of Eid.

“We don't have a choice but to be stringent as we have seen a lot of movement before Eid. There is no alternative (to a lockdown) for controlling the spread of the coronavirus infection.”

The army, BGB and police will take a much tougher stance against lockdown delinquents this time around, he warned.

The coronavirus pandemic has been roiling Bangladesh since March 2020. The situation has taken a catastrophic turn in recent months due to the local transmission of the Delta variant of COVID-19, first found in India.

The number of patients infected with the strain has been on the rise since April. Although the pandemic appeared to lose some of its intensity in May, fresh cases and deaths have since hit record peaks in July.