Lockdown restrictions further extended till May 30
The government has eased curbs on long-haul public buses, trains and launches from today, allowing the operators to resume services after keeping them suspended for nearly seven weeks.
In a notification yesterday, the Cabinet Division extended the ongoing restrictions till May 30, and said that the public transports would be allowed to carry passengers at half the capacity.
But the passengers, drivers and their assistants must wear masks and follow health safety rules, it said.
Restaurants and eateries, which were restricted to offering only take away services, have also been allowed to offer dine-in facilities at half capacity from today.
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The restrictions have been curtailed as the number of infections and deaths dropped significantly, and considering the demands of the owners and workers of the transport services and restaurants heavily affected by lockdown.
Bangladesh registered 28 new deaths from Covid-19 in the 24 hours till yesterday morning, taking the total death toll in the country to 12,376. A further 1,354 people tested positive for Covid-19 on the day, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 789,080.
Farhad Hossain, state minister for public administration, told reporters that the government had decided to ease public transport and restaurant restrictions “as the Covid-19 infection rate has dropped in recent times. However, the government will strictly enforce the health guidelines.”
The government initially imposed restrictions on public movement, including the suspension of long-haul public transport, on April 5 and extended it till May 23 in phases.
Although the intra-district bus services were resumed ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr considering the huge rush of holidaymakers, the long-haul services remained suspended.
However, the people were apathetic to the restrictions, as they rushed out of the capital ignoring health safety guidelines.
Meanwhile, flight operations would continue in limited scale as per the previous directives of the civil aviation authorities.
Trains to resume operation
A total of 56 intercity trains and 18 local trains will operate from today, according to Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan.
During a press briefing at the ministry yesterday, he said: “Trains will carry passengers at half the capacity owing to the pandemic.”
Many people prefer trains for long distance travel considering safety and comfort.
Mobile courts at terminals
As the restrictions are lifted, the authorities have decided to conduct mobile courts to ensure that public transports do not carry passengers at more than 50% capacity, and that everyone follows the health guidelines.
Chairman of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) Golam Sadeq told Dhaka Tribune “We will employ magistrates and take help from the local administration to control crowds at the launch terminals.”
On the other hand, a senior official of the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) confirmed that they would set up mobile courts at different bus terminals in Dhaka.