Bangladesh to impose week-long lockdown as Covid cases surge

Dhaka, Apr 3 (efe-epa).- The government of Bangladesh announced on Saturday that it would impose a week-long nationwide lockdown from Monday to try and contain a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases in the country.

“Covid-19 infections are spreading fast. The infection rate and deaths are jumping high. In this context, (Prime Minister) Sheikh Hasina’s government decided to enforce a countrywide lockdown for one week from Monday,” Transport Minister Obaidul Quader said in a video message.

However, Quader, who is also the general secretary of the ruling Awami League party, clarified that small industries and factories would be allowed to function during the period with certain condition

The announcement comes after a big surge in cases over the past week as part of a second wave of infections, with authorities on Friday registering the highest-ever daily caseload (6,830) and death toll (59).

Cases had began to drop in January, when Bangladesh registered less than 1,000 cases for 51 days straight, before the number began to rise again.

For the last five days, the country has witnessed more than 5,000 cases every day, taking the total number of infections to 617,764 while the overall death toll stands at 9,105.

The authorities had already imposed some restrictions on Mar. 19, including a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving from Europe.

Additionally, offices and factories were asked to operate with 50 percent strength and public transport was also limited to half of its usual capacity.

As part of an undeclared lockdown, last year Bangladesh had imposed a general holiday for nearly two months ending May 30, during which offices, factories, schools and markets remained closed. Education institutions have continued to be shut since then. EFE-EPA


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