Curbs lifted from July 14; two-week restriction again from July 23
The country will go under another session of strict lockdown from July 23 after an interval for Eid-ul-Azha celebrations.
The ongoing restrictions will be eased from midnight on Wednesday to 6am on July 23 to allow pre-Eid business and trade, ease homebound journeys and purchase of sacrificial cattle.
Keeping other forms of restrictions in place, the government has decided to shut down all factories, including the export-oriented garment industry, during the post-Eid lockdown.
The decisions were formally announced through a notification by the Cabinet Division on Tuesday, elaborating a set of restrictions. It noted that no business would be allowed, all private offices would be kept closed and no transport would be available when the restrictions resumed.
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The withdrawal of restrictions for the interim period had been decided “considering the socio-economic condition and the need to maintain normal economic activity,” it reads.
However, people must remain alert and follow health protocols, like wearing masks, “strictly”.
During the easy-go nine days, public transports will operate on a limited scale while shops, stores and malls will be allowed to open through maintaining health guidelines. Cattle markets will be allowed to operate across the country.
Government offices have been told to operate virtually, but private organizations will remain closed.
Eid-ul-Azha will be observed in Bangladesh on July 21, with the official three-day holiday beginning a day before the festival.
Bangladesh has been under a nationwide strict lockdown since July 1. But new records in the number of positive cases and deaths are being reported every day.
Experts say if the present trend continues, the already overwhelmed hospitals will struggle to provide treatment.
A top virologist on the national Covid advisory panel says the exodus of holidaymakers from Dhaka amid a strict restriction will increase the risk of infections.
“But if public transports are operational, the crowd will be less as opposed to what we have seen during previous lockdowns ahead of the festivals, when hundreds of thousands leave the city either way,” said Prof Dr Nazrul Islam.
The risk of contagion can be minimized if transports operate following health protocol. Moreover, the risk of infection through the cattle markets can be avoided, if health rules are followed. “If needed, the army should be deployed in the cattle markets,” he added.
Some of the major restrictions to be imposed from July 23 to August 5 are:
* All government, semi-government, autonomous and private offices will be closed;
* Road, rail and waterways public transport (including domestic flights) and all types of motorized vehicles will be suspended;
* Shops, including malls and markets. will remain closed;
* All public gatherings such as social (wedding ceremonies, birthdays, picnics, parties, etc), political and religious ceremonies will be banned;
*People cannot leave their homes, except in case of emergencies, such as to buy medicine and daily essentials, to seek medical care, Covid vaccination, or to conduct funerals for the dead. Legal action will be taken against violators;
* Government officials will remain at their workstations and conduct official activities virtually;
* Trucks/lorries/covered vans/cargo vessels used for transportation of goods will be exempted from the ban;
* Kitchen markets and stores selling daily essentials can remain open from 9am to 3pm;
* Eateries and restaurants will be open for takeaways from 8am to 8pm;
* International flights will continue and passengers will be able to travel via car by showing their international travel tickets;
* Tourist attractions, resorts, community centres, and recreation centres will remain closed;
* All kinds of factories will remain closed.