So far, Bangladesh has confirmed 1,572 Covid-19 cases and 60 deaths
The government has taken a page out of China’s book and announced a heavy restriction on the movement of people, but fell short of calling it a ‘lockdown’ to prevent further transmission of the novel coronavirus.
The move, which declared that the entire Bangladesh was at risk, came on Thursday hours after the country saw the highest number of cases and fatalities in a 24-hour span.
With the deadly virus already affecting most parts of the country, a circular announcing the move was issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in the afternoon.
“The whole of Bangladesh, under Section 11(1) of Infectious Disease (Prevention, Control and Elimination) Act, 2018, has been declared to be at risk of coronavirus infection,” said the circular, signed by DGHS Director General Dr Abul Kalam Azad.
He urged the people to “strictly follow” three directives – stay at home unless its extremely urgent to go out, do not move from one area to another, and do not be outside between 6pm and 6am.
"Stern action will be taken against those who violate the aforementioned instructions,” he said, adding: “The health authorities have been given the jurisdiction to execute the orders with the help of their respective local administrations.
“This decision comes as the spread of the virus cannot be controlled without banning public gatherings, and the disease has now reached different parts of Bangladesh,” read the circular.
Bangladesh has so far confirmed 1,572 coronavirus cases and 60 deaths from the highly contagious virus, since the first three cases were reported on March 8.
Of those, the country confirmed a record number of 341 positive cases and 10 deaths from the virus in a 24-hour period till Thursday.
According to government data, Covid-19 is currently affecting the country's 44 districts out of 64. Dhaka, the capital city, recorded the maximum number of cases, 608, followed by Narayanganj with 255 confirmed cases.
The government announced a general holiday from March 26 and later extended it to April 25, shutting down all types of transports and all non-essential services and putting millions out of job.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina over the past few weeks unveiled a number of stimulus packages to tackle the impacts of the pandemic, and on Thursday also announced giving ration cards to five million people, 10 million in total.
The fast spreading Covid-19 has so far killed more than 142,000 people, including those in Bangladesh, around the world.