Bangladesh has decided not to extend further the nationwide lockdown after May 30 that was imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus but every citizen needed to strictly abide by the health guidelines for COVID-19 until June 15, Junior Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain said on Wednesday.
Bangladesh, where the nation-wide shutdown was enforced on March 26, has till now witnessed 36,715 infections with 522 deaths.
“The general holiday will not be extended after its expiry on May 30, but everyone must strictly abide by health guidelines for COVID-19 until June 15,” Hossain told reporters.
He said the elderly, sick people and the pregnant women would, however, refrain from joining their offices while “others will attend office “maintaining 13 specific guidelines”.
The junior minister said the government also planned to allow “limited reopening” of public transport services like passenger buses, trains and ferries maintaining as well the health guidelines and restrictions.
Asked to explain the “limited” and “restricted” reopening Hossain said it meant the “transport services will operate in a “controlled manner” maintaining health directives while local authorities will take detailed decisions in this regard.
“The private aviation operators will also restore their services under their own management maintaining the health guidelines,” Hossain said.
But the existing ban on public gatherings and unnecessary movement of people from 8 pm to 6 am would remain enforced while violation of the order would be treated as a punishable offence, he said.
The shops would remain open from 8 am to 4 pm strictly enforcing social and physical distancing and maintaining other health guidelines.
Hossain said an official order was expected to be issued on Thursday announcing the government decision.
“We have obtained Prime Minister’s (Sheikh Hasina) approval in this regard,” he said.
Since its enforcement on March 26, coinciding with the Independence Day anniversary, the shutdown was extended in six phases until May 30.