Bangladesh to lift most virus restrictions on Wednesday
The government has not lifted curbs on public gatherings and recreation centres as part of its move to phase out virus restrictions.
"Recreation centres have not been allowed to reopen while public gatherings are still prohibited," Cabinet Secretary Khandaker Anwarul Islam said on Monday.
Speaking to the media after the weekly Cabinet meeting, Islam said that local administrations, police, bus owners and workers would have to ensure that half of the total number of buses plied on roads.
He said the decision was taken based on the recommendation of the law enforcement agencies to reduce the number of inter-district buses moving from one district to another.
As per Sunday’s Cabinet Division notification, public transport services on land, rail, and waterways have been cleared to resume operations by transporting passengers at full capacity.
However, in the case of road transport, the local administrations – after consulting law enforcement agencies, offices and other agencies concerned, as well as transport owners’ and workers’ associations in their jurisdiction – can allow half the number of vehicles to run every day, according to the notification.
“Our law enforcement agencies suggested that we follow this method for a while. Deputy commissioners, law enforcement officials, workers' union chiefs and workers at the districts will take a decision on coming up with a system," Khandaker Anwarul Islam said.
Asked whether reducing the number of the buses would create more problems, he said: "It will be up to the local administration to decide whether to allow more vehicles to enter Dhaka or Chittagong at the same time. In the case of cities, the metropolitan police and the owners' association will decide. "
“We have left everything to the local administration,” added Islam.
Regarding the reopening of educational institutions, the cabinet secretary said, “ It’s the education ministry’s call. They are drawing up plans on reopening.”
Bangladesh is set to relax most ongoing restrictions on public movement and gatherings across the country from Wednesday.
The Cabinet Division on Sunday said the nationwide strict lockdown would not be extended past its current deadline on Tuesday.
Beginning on Wednesday, all offices, banks, financial institutions, factories and markets will reopen while at the same time strictly maintaining government-issued health safety protocols.
Shopping malls, markets and shops are allowed to stay open from 10 am to 8 pm.
All factories will be able to operate as before.
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Restaurants can stay open from 8 am to 10 pm, but only have half their capacity of dine-in customers.
The relevant authorities must ensure the maintenance of the government-issued health safety protocols to contain Covid-19 transmission on all modes of transport, the circular added.
Violations of health safety regulations might lead to legal consequences, and the authorities concerned would have to bear them, the notification made clear.