Army deployed across the country to curb the wave of Covid-19 in aid of civil power
The government has imposed a seven-day strict lockdown all over Bangladesh from 6am Thursday to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
Strict disciplinary action will be taken only if one goes out without a credible reason during the lockdown, according to an official statement issued on Tuesday.
On Wednesday , the Cabinet Division issued a gazette notification imposing certain rules and regulations for the lockdown.
While speaking to Dhaka Tribune on Wednesday, some high officials of the Cabinet Division hinted that the duration of lockdown might be increased after an observation of the situation in the first seven days.
During this lockdown, the people will not be allowed to move outdoors without an emergency. If people fail to have convincing reasons, Armed Forces and law enforcement agency personnel will take action against them to ensure government directives are followed.
In a separate press release, the Inter Service Public Relations Directorate (ISPR) said on Wednesday that, from 6am Thursday till 12am on July 7, the Armed Forces would be deployed across the country to curb the wave of Covid-19 in aid of civil power.
When contacted, officials of the Armed Forces Division said troops would be deployed according to the requirements of the district magistrates across the country. DCs will make it known, however, as to how many troops they need, specifying whether they need a strike force, medical assistance force, or both.
Hard lockdown: Everything you need to know
1. All government, semi-government, autonomous and private offices to be closed
2. Public transport on roads, rail, and waterways (including domestic aircraft) and movement of all types of motorized vehicles suspended.
3. All shops, including shopping malls and markets, to be closed
4. All tourist centres, resorts, community centres and recreation centres to be closed
5. All public gatherings, whether for social (wedding ceremonies, birthdays, picnics, parties, etc), political or religious ceremonies, to be closed
6. Supreme Court of Bangladesh will issue necessary directions to courts
7. Bangladesh Bank will issue necessary instructions to ensure banking services
8. Law enforcement 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 or petroleum, fire service, telephone and internet (government- private), media (print and electronic media), private security systems, post, bank, pharmacy and pharmaceuticals and other emergency and essential products and services related offices, their employees and vehicles can move by showing their institutional identity cards
9. Trucks, lorries, covered vans or cargo vessels used for transportation of goods will be exempted from the ban
10. Ports (air, sea, naval and land) and related offices will be exempted from the ban
11. Industries and factories will stay open and be self-managed following health rules
12. Food shops, hotels and restaurants open for takeaway or online from 8am to 8pm
13. Kitchen markets materials and daily necessities can be bought and sold in the open from 9am to 5pm in accordance with hygiene rules. Market authorities or local administration will confirm the matter
14. Except for absolute necessity (medicine and daily essential products, treatment, burial/funeral etc), no one can go outside
15. Movement will be allowed for Covid-19 vaccine candidates upon presenting their vaccine cards
16. International flights to continue and passengers able to travel via car by showing their international travel tickets
17. The Ministry of Religious Affairs will issue instructions regarding prayers at mosques following hygiene rules
18. Under the Army in Aid of Civil Power Act the Armed Forces Division will deploy the 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
19. 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 army, BGB, police, RAB and Ansar
20. The Ministry of Public Administration will ensure the appointment of the required number of executive magistrates at the field level
21. The director general of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) to allow the district administration and the police force to take legal action on his behalf
Covid lockdown violators to be arrested, sued
Anyone found to be violating the strict Covid-19 lockdown rules and restrictions would be arrested and sued, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Mohammad Shafiqul Islam warned on Wednesday.
"If anyone leaves his house without any reason of emergency during the lockdown starting from Thursday, he will be arrested and sued under Section 269 of the Penal Code," he said at a press briefing at the DMP Media Centre in Dhaka.
He said the section in question included a maximum jail term of six months and a fine.
"This time the police will take tough action against the violators. We are prepared to arrest 5,000 people or more a day from the capital, if needed. Then we will send them to jail and produce them in court," he added.
Mobile courts would hand down immediate punishments to the violators after questioning them, said the DMP chief.
Replying to a question, DMP chief Shafiqul said: “No motorized vehicles will be allowed to ply the roads, but rickshaws can move to allow people to deal with emergency cases like buying daily essentials, medicines, and taking patients to hospitals. No one will be allowed to use a rickshaw for roaming or visiting relatives."
Asked about the movements of media persons, he said journalists had been asked to cover their assignments with their ID cards and they could move around the city to perform their duties.
“Police won’t obstruct them. They can also use vehicles provided by their respective offices,” he added.
Responding to another query, the DMP commissioner said police patrols would be increased on main roads as well as in alleys of the city.
Check-posts would be set up at the entrance and exit points of Dhaka city and other important points, and monitoring would be strengthened, Shafiqul said.
In some cases, necessary action will be taken under the Traffic Act, he said.
About the plying of private vehicles, the DMP commissioner said: “No private vehicle will be allowed to ply on the roads but those which have got approval from the government will be permitted to move.”
Besides, he said the relatives of returnees from abroad have no need to go to airports. In that case, the returnees have been advised to hire vehicles from airports and go to their respective destinations, Shafiqul added.
Domestic flights suspended, international flights to operate during lockdown
All domestic flights are to be suspended. However, international flights will continue to operate during the lockdown, said a notification issued by the Cabinet Division on Wednesday.
According to sources, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) recommended the continuation of international flights for returning migrant workers. At the same time, the organization suggested limiting the number of domestic flights for expatriate workers.
On June 4, CAAB issued its latest directive on international flights. In that directive, various conditions were given to 19 countries.
Moreover, no one is allowed to travel from and to Argentina, Bahrain, Bolivia, Brazil, India, Malaysia, Maldives, Nepal, Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago and Uruguay.
Passengers from Kuwait and Oman need to quarantine themselves in a hotel for three days. Passengers from Belgium, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark and Greece are required to be in quarantine in hotels for 14 days.
They must stay in quarantine even if they are fully vaccinated. All passengers must carry negative PCR test results at the time of arrival.
Bank transaction hours 10am to 1:30pm
Banks will carry out transactions from 10am to 1:30pm during the seven-day strict lockdown till July 7.
According to a notice issued by the Bangladesh Bank on Wednesday, banks can operate until 3:30pm for conducting their other necessary activities during the period Reports UNB.
But the new schedule will come into effect from Sunday, as transactions will be closed on Thursday and the next two days are weekends.
At present, banks carry out transactions until 3:30pm and remain open until 4:30pm, against the normal transaction period of 10 am to 4pm.
The circular said the government had imposed different restrictions considering the current situation of the coronavirus pandemic.
During this period, the head offices of banks will remain open while state-owned banks will keep open one branch at the district level and one branch at the upazila level. Private banks will keep open one branch at the district level and maximum two branches outside the district level with limited manpower.
The bank authorities will take measures to provide transportation support to their staff in consultation with the local administration.
The banks will keep their principal and authorized dealer (AD) branches open with required staff while internet banking service will continue for 24 hours a day.
They have to ensure the operation of ATM booths to facilitate transactions through cards by supplying adequate cash in the machines, while evening banking and weekly holiday banking activities would remain suspended until further orders, said a notice issued earlier on April 13.