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Ongoing strict lockdown extended till July 14

The government has extended the ongoing strict lockdown till July 14 in a bid to prevent the further spread of Covid-19, which has killed over 15,000 people across Bangladesh so far.

Cabinet Division announced the decision in a circular on Monday.
The set of restrictions, imposed last week, will be effective during the extended period.

Earlier, the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 suggested the government to extend the ongoing strict lockdown by one more week to curb infections.

The country went into seven-day strict lockdown from July 1 as the Covid-19 situation has worsened with the alarming rise in fatalities and infections from the highly contagious virus.

The government issued a 21-point directives and deployed members of the armed forces and Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) along with regular police force to enforce the lockdown.

Law enforcement agencies, including the police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), and local administration have been given the authority to arrest and fine violators of the lockdown rules.

The 21-point directives are: All government, non-government and autonomous organisations will remain closed. Public transport services (river, rail and road) and domestic flights will remain suspended. All private motorised vehicles will keep off the road but goods-laden trucks, covered vans and cargo vessels have been kept outside the purview of the restrictions. The offices of the air, sea, river and land ports will remain open.

Shopping malls, shops, tourist spots, resorts, community centres and recreation venues will remain closed. All public, political, religious and social gatherings have been banned.

Banks will remain open till 3:00pm while banking service will be available from 10:00am to 1:30pm. Courts will run virtually during the lockdown.

Law enforcement agencies, emergency services like transporting agricultural products (seed, fertiliser, pesticide, machines, etc.), food and food grains-carrying vehicles, relief distribution, health services, corona vaccination, power, water, gas/energy services, port activities, telephone and internet (government, private), media (print and electronic), private security services, postal services and offices of emergency products have been kept outside the purview of the restrictions and staff members will be allowed to move after showing ID cards. Industries and factories are allowed to run under own management during the lockdown.

Kitchen stuff and other essentials can be sold in open spaces from 9:00am to 5:00pm by maintaining health rules. Market authorities and local administration will ensure that health guidelines are maintained. Hotels and restaurants will remain open from 8:00am to 8:00pm only for takeaway and online services.

None will be allowed to go out except for emergencies (buying medicines, daily commodities, medical treatment and burial). Legal action will be taken against the violators.

People can go out to take corona vaccine but they must show vaccination cards.

International flights will be in operation. Air passengers can use transport by showing their tickets.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs has issued instructions on prayers at mosques and health guidelines for the devotees.

Under the ‘Army in Aid to Civil Power Act’, the Armed Forces Division will deploy required number of troops to ensure effective patrolling at the field level. The district magistrate will confirm the matter in consultation with the local army commander.

The district magistrate will hold a coordination meeting with the officers concerned at the district level to determine the jurisdiction, method, and time of patrolling of the armed forces, BGB, police, RAB and Ansar.

The Ministry of Public Administration has appointed a total of 106 executive magistrates across the country.

The Director General of Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has allowed the district administration and the police force to take legal action against the lockdown violators on his behalf.

To this effect, law enforcers and local administration have taken elaborate preparations, including putting up barricade on roads across the country, arrangements for mobile court drive.

According to Inter Service Public Relation Directorate (ISPR), arm forces will be on duty across the country as per ‘Army in Aid to Civil Power Act’.

Meanwhile, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) issued a warning that they are prepared to arrest anyone who will go out without emergencies during the strict lockdown.

DMP Commissioner Shafiqul Islam said police will arrest and file cases against the violators under section 269 of the Penal Code, which has not been done before.

Earlier, the cabinet division decided to impose lockdown from June 28 but later, the division on Saturday evening postponed imposing nationwide complete lockdown from June 28 to July 1, and there will be a limited-scale or partial countrywide lockdown in the interim period.

Jatiya Press Club will also remain closed during the lockdown.

Earlier, the government on June 16 extended the countrywide ‘so-called’ lockdown for a month until July 15 reopening all government and private offices, autonomous organisations, banks and financial institutions.

On June 28, the closure of the border with India was extended for another 14 days until July 14. The border was first closed on April 26 to check the spread of corona transmission

On June 6, the government extended the countrywide lockdown for 10 days until June 16, saying the deputy commissioners of high-risk districts can announce lockdown in their respective areas after discussion with the local representatives and the committees concerned.

Due to a rise in corona cases from mid-March, the government imposed a relaxed lockdown for one week from April 5.

But the government allowed resumption of public transport services in city corporation areas from April 7 as well as reopening of shops and markets for five days from April 9 in the face of protests.

The relaxed lockdown was extended for two more days until April 13. As per the suggestion of health experts, the government enforced a stricter lockdown from April 14 to April 22, which was extended until July 15 in phases.

On May 8 last, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) confirmed the detection of the Delta variant, which was classified by the World Health Organization as a “variant of global concern”, in Bangladesh.

The educational institutions of the country have remained closed since the outbreak of coronavirus. Closure of the educational institutions has been extended until July 31.