Prompt stern action to be taken against anyone violating the orders
The government has issued a gazette notification announcing a set of restrictions to be followed during the nationwide weeklong strict lockdown starting from April 14 to curb the staggering Covid-19 surge.
Bangladesh has been seeing a steep rise in Covid-19 deaths and infections in the last few weeks, with the highest ever single-day death tally recorded in the country on Sunday.
The gazette, signed by Cabinet Division Deputy Secretary Rezaul Islam, was issued on Monday morning, which said prompt stern action will be taken against anyone violating the orders.
Under the fresh lockdown, all government, semi-government, autonomous, private offices and financial institutions will remain closed. But the officers and employees will have to stay in their respective work stations.
However, this rule is not applicable to air, sea, river, land ports and their concerned offices.
The Supreme Court will issue necessary directives for the courts.
All modes of public transports (road, river, rail and air) will remain suspended during the lockdown. But goods-carrying, production and emergency services vehicles will be allowed to operate.
Industries and factories will be run by their own management complying with the health guidelines. However, the respective industries must take measures to carry their employees in their own vehicles.
Those that will not fall under the restrictions include law enforcement agencies and other emergency services -- such as agricultural elements (fertilizer, seeds, pesticides, equipment etc), crops and transportation, relief distribution, health services, Covid-19 vaccination, electricity, water, gas/petroleum, Fire Service, port activities (land, river, sea), telephone and internet (government-private), media (print and electronic media), private security systems, posts -- and other offices related to essential products and services, their employees and vehicles.
Except for absolute necessity (medicine and daily essentials, medical treatment, burial or funeral etc), no one will be allowed to go outside. However, one can go for the Covid-19 vaccine by showing the vaccination card.
All shopping malls and shops will remain closed. Restaurants and eateries will also be closed, but they offer online, takeaway or home delivery services from 12pm to 7pm and 12am to 6am (as the month of Ramadan starts in a few days).
Daily essentials can be bought and sold at open kitchen markets from 9am to 3pm in line with the hygiene rules, which the market management or local authorities will ensure.
The district administration will coordinate the transportation of agricultural labourers in urgent need of Boro paddy harvesting.
District and field administrations across the country will take effective steps to implement these orders and the law enforcement agencies will intensify regular patrols.
The Directorate General of Health Services director general will give the necessary powers to the district administration and police to take legal action on his behalf.
The Ministry of Religious Affairs will issue guidelines on the congregation of Jummah and Taraweeh prayers during Ramadan.
In order to implement the orders, the concerned ministry or department may issue supplementary instructions as required.
Worsening Covid-19 situation
Bangladesh reported its highest single-day Covid-19 fatalities on Sunday, surpassing Saturday’s figure.
The health directorate confirmed 78 deaths between 8am Saturday and 8am Sunday, the highest since coronavirus cases were first reported in March last year.
On Saturday, the country had recorded 77 fatalities.
Sunday's numbers took the death toll to 9,739, with the mortality rate staying at 1.42% for the third consecutive day.
Meanwhile, 5,819 new cases were also recorded between Saturday and Sunday mornings, pushing the total to 684,756, according to the health directorate.
Bangladesh reported its first Covid-19 death on March 18 last year, 10 days after the first case was recorded.
This year, the virus claimed 568 lives in January, 281 in February and 638 in March.
The government imposed an apparently lose nationwide lockdown for one week from April 5 in a bid to contain the spike in Covid-19 cases and deaths.
But in the face of protests against the lockdown, the government was forced to resume public transport in cities from Wednesday and reopen shops and shopping malls for five days from Friday.