Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina instructs authorities to provide food and cash aid to temporary jobless people
Bangladesh is set to enter the toughest lockdown enforced till now from Thursday in a bid to control the alarming Covid-19 situation after logging the highest number of single-day fatalities and cases in two consecutive days.
The government prepares to deploy personnel of the Bangladesh Army alongside police and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) to ensure proper implementation of the lockdown and adherence to government regulations.
During this lockdown, people will not be allowed to leave their houses except for emergencies and on top of that no movement passes will be issued like the last time, according to the decision taken at the Cabinet meeting on Monday.
At the meeting, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina instructed the authorities to provide food and cash aid to temporary jobless people, including transport workers and the floating population during this strict lockdown, sources confirmed to Dhaka Tribune.
As many people had already left their places ahead of the lockdown, Sheikha Hasina told the authorities to prepare a list to provide aid to everyone even if they did not have any identity cards or were not from that area.
The prime minister directed the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief to provide the aid from the social safety net program of the government.
State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Dr Md Enamur Rahman told Dhaka Tribune: “We have already disbursed aid to 70 million people within 15 months. This time more than 700,000 transport workers will be added to the list.”
“Everyone will get Tk500 in cash aid and food equivalent to Tk1,500 under the social safety net program,” he added.
The state minister added that food aid packages would also include 10kg of mangoes for each person as per the prime minister's directive.
Disaster management and relief distribution committees at district, city corporation, upazila, union, and ward levels would provide the aid to jobless people, he added.
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“We have already sent cash assistance to the respective committees across the country on Monday. We have also sent assistance to the border areas where lockdowns are currently ongoing,” Dr Emamur Rahman said.
Meanwhile, following the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam told reporters the government was going to strictly enforce the lockdown from Thursday.
“People will have to stay home and be allowed to go out only for emergency purposes, such as medical reasons or for attending funerals,” he added.
He said the government would primarily observe the lockdown for seven days. “If needed, it will be extended.”
Detailed instructions regarding the restrictions would be given on Tuesday, he added.
“This can be called lockdown, shutdown, etc. It will be decided tomorrow [Tuesday], but till now these are strict restrictions,” the secretary added.
He said the government could not go for strict restrictions till Wednesday on some realistic grounds. “So, it’ll start on July 1 [Thursday],” he added.
Anwarul Islam said the Covid infection rate had declined significantly in Chapainawabganj due to the strict implementation of restrictive measures there.