Ministries concerned asked to instruct port officials to follow and enforce necessary hygiene and quarantine rules
The Foreign Ministry’s proposal to shut down Bangladesh’s borders with India, in a bid to prevent the entry of Indian coronavirus variants, was rejected at the inter-ministerial meeting held on Thursday.
The meeting dismissed the proposition, saying that mostly Bangladeshi people were travelling through the borders and mainly for reasons of emergency, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told Dhaka Tribune on Saturday.
Top officials of the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare, Home Affairs and Shipping as well as the Prime Minister’s Office participated in the virtual meeting.
Bangladesh has several land, river and sea ports connecting it with India, most of which are open even though India is facing its deadliest spell of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Moreover, Bangladesh has continued all trade and commerce with India through using the ports even amid the countrywide strict lockdown.
Mamun Kabir Tarafder, deputy director (traffic) of Benapole Land Port, said: “On average, some 400 passengers and 600 trucks travel through the port every day.”
Instead of closing down the borders, the inter-ministerial meeting had asked the ministries concerned to instruct port officials to follow and enforce necessary hygiene and quarantine rules, said Foreign Minister Momen.
Meanwhile, air connectivity with India remains suspended amid the strict lockdown as both countries are struggling to rein in the fresh upsurge in the Covid-19 pandemic.