Bangladesh plans to extend pandemic lockdown to May 16

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2021-05-03 14:57:29 BdST

The Bangladesh government has decided to extend its current pandemic restrictions to May 16.

Long-haul buses, trains and launches will also remain closed, but public transport will be allowed to resume with strict rules within the boundaries of cities and districts on May 6, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam told the media on Monday.

“Strict action will be taken against anyone who doesn’t wear a mask,” he said. “From today, police, city corporations and the local administration will supervise markets across the country.”

“If there are too many people at these markets, that may not be controllable, but if there are too many people without masks wandering around, then the markets will be closed. We hope that the store owners’ associations will support us on this matter,” Islam said.

Asked whether people returning home for Eid celebrations would suffer, the cabinet secretary said: “There are three public holidays set aside for Eid. Two of these days are Friday and Saturday. There will be no additional holiday after these three days.”

Bangladesh on Apr 14 imposed what it came to be known as the ‘strictest lockdown’ in which people were barred from going outside, except for an emergency, in an effort to contain a massive spike in COVID cases.

The restrictions shut public and private offices and public transport services except those providing emergency services. But factories were allowed to remain open if they followed health regulations.

Shopping malls and stores were also initially shut down, but this restriction was later eased on Apr 25.

Banks can only carry out transactions from 10 am to 1 pm and only a limited staff are allowed at their branches.