The move comes after staggering rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths over the past month
Bangladesh is set to go into lockdown for a week starting from Monday, following a staggering rise in Covid-19 cases and deaths throughout March.
Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Saturday said the government was all set to impose the countrywide lockdown as part of its effort to curb the new wave of the pandemic.
Quader, also the general secretary of the ruling Awami League, made the announcement during a regular briefing from his home in the morning.
State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain also confirmed the development to Dhaka Tribune but added: “All offices and courts will be closed during this lockdown but industries and factories will continue to operate following health guidelines and ensuring shifting duty."
Ask why factories will remain open, he said: “If we close them, the workers may have to leave for home.”
Farhad also said the institutions providing emergency services would be open during the lockdown, and added that details regarding the lockdown will come soon.
Quader urged the people to properly follow health guidelines and wear face masks mandatorily to protect themselves from Covid-19.
He said the government has already taken the necessary preparation to tackle the second wave of the pandemic.
"But many people are reluctant to maintain health rules, which may worsen the situation,” the minister warned.
On Monday, the government issued an 18-point directive, imposing fresh restrictions to tackle the spike in Covid-19 cases and deaths. It said then the new curbs will remain in force initially for two weeks.
In a gazette notification, it banned public gatherings in areas with a high rate of infection and restricted gatherings in all types of public events, including social, political and religious. It also said that public transport will carry passengers half of their seating capacity and must maintain the health safety guidelines.
The directives were then followed by the closure of all entertainment centres and tourists spots across the country.
And now, the lockdown announcement has come after the country saw record 6,830 infections on Friday, 6,469 on Thursday, 5,358 on Wednesday, 5,042 on Tuesday and 5,181 on Monday.
The country has so far recorded 624,594 cases and 9,155 deaths. While the mortality rate on Wednesday stood at 1.47%, the number of recoveries went up to 547,411.
Bangladesh on Friday also recorded the highest ever seven-day moving average of deaths – 46.43 – since the pandemic broke out in March last year.
Besides, Friday’s test positivity rate – 23.28% – was the highest recorded in the last seven months.
In this year so far, January saw 568 deaths, February 281 and March 638.
The government is increasing the number of covid-designated hospitals and ICU beds to deal with the rising number of patients.