Bangladesh goes to a complete 7-day lockdown to contain the second wave of coronavirus infection in the country.
The lockdown will be effective from 6:00am on April 14 (Wednesday) till midnight on April 21 (Wednesday). During the lockdown, everything will remain closed, except emergency services, mills and factories, and transportation of goods.
The Cabinet Division has issued directives regarding the all-out lockdown.
The directives are:
1. All public transport services (roads, railway and domestic flights) will remain suspended. However, the directive will not be applicable to goods-laden vehicles, production systems and emergency services. Besides, the restriction will not be effective on individual who is going abroad or returning from abroad.
2. Offices, employees and transports involved in law and order and emergency services like relief distribution, health services, electricity, water, gas/fuel, fire service, activities at ports (land, river and sea), telephone and internet, telecommunication and other services will remain out of the purview of the lockdown.
3. All government/non-government/autonomous offices, courts and private offices can facilitate commute of their employees to work using their own transports on a limited scale. Industries and factories can do the same for their workers. Factories under BGMEA and the BKMEA have to take measures regarding field hospital/treatment for their workers.
4. None will be able to go outside from 6:00pm to 6:00am, except for emergencies (medicine and daily essentials, treatment and burial/cremation etc).
5. Only the sale and supply of foods (from 12:00pm to 7:00pm and 12:00am to 6:00am), and restaurants will be able to operate takeaway/online services of food deliveries. None can eat food sitting in hotels and restaurants.
6. All shops, markets, shopping malls, shopping complexes will remain closed. But shops can continue wholesale and online services. In that case, they have to maintain health guidelines.
7. Buying and selling of kitchen items and daily essentials will be done only in open spaces from 8:00am to 4:00pm following the hygiene rules. The authorities concerned and local administration will ensure the services.
8. Bangladesh Bank will provide necessary directives to continue bank activities on a limited scale.
9. The Armed Forces Division will take necessary measures to set up field hospitals in a suitable location in Dhaka.
10. District and field-level administration across the country will take effective measures to implement the directives and law enforcement agencies will intensify regular patrols.
11. The concerned district administration will coordinate the transport of agricultural workers in case of an urgent need to harvest Boro paddy.
12. Ministry of Religious Affairs will issue guidelines on Jumma congregation (Friday prayer) and Taraweeh prayers following health rules
13. Strict legal action will be taken against those who disobey the directives.
About the lockdown, State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain said the field level administration, especially the district and upazila administrations and law enforcement agencies have been directed to take effective steps to ensure that “everyone abides by the restrictions” given in the directives.
Regarding the operation of factories, State Minister for Labor and Employment Monnujan Sufian said most of the factories could not be seen to ensure transportation for the workers under their own management in the last lockdown. “This time, it is necessary to ensure that the workers are brought and taken from their own organizations to their own transport management. Otherwise, legal action will be taken,” she added.
Police’s ‘Movement Pass’ to be required for going outside in lockdown.
Police will issue movement passes for emergency movement during the strict lockdown. The pass holders will be able to move freely on the road. However, the pass will be given only to those involved in emergency services.
According to Police Headquarters, the pass will be given in 14 categories including medicine, medical, transportation of agricultural products, jobs. Applications can be made by visiting the website (https://movementpass.police.gov.bd/) after the official inauguration. If the application is reasonable, he/she will get the pass. The duration of a pass will be a few hours.
The applicant has to provide information including his phone number, date of birth, National Identity Card (NID) number and photo. They also have to give the information from which area to area they need to move. After giving all the information, an ‘e-Pass’ will issue automatically.
At the same time, there will be a QR code scanner – which can be scanned by the police personnel on duty at various checkpoints to easily ensure the movement of the authorized person.
1.25 crore poor families to get food aid in lockdown
The government will provide food assistance to 1.25 crore poor families of the country. The food list includes 10 kg of rice, 1 kg of pulses, salt, soybean oil and 4 kg of potatoes.
Regarding the food aid to the poor, State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief Md. Enamur Rahman said the government provided food aid to 1.25 crore poor families across the country during the 2020 general holidays. The government has a list of these families. This year too, they will be assisted initially. Besides, if any person or family dependent on daily income is in trouble, they will be assisted by the local administration.
Max 20 people can offer prayers including Taraweeh at mosques
A maximum of 20 people, including Imam and Khatib will be able to offer daily prayers and Taraweeh Prayers at the mosque during the holy month of Ramadan to prevent coronavirus infection.
In a notification, the Ministry of Religious Affairs said a maximum of 20 worshipers including Khatib, Imam, Hafez, Muezzin and Khadem will able to perform Taraweeh and daily prayers. One has to participate in the Friday prayers abiding by social distance and health guidelines. Besides, no such event can be organized in the name of Iftar mahfil in the mosques during Ramadan.
Earlier on Friday, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said COVID has taken a terrible shape in the country. The rate of infection and death is increasing gradually. However, the aloofness of the people did not lessen. In such a situation, the government is actively thinking about a “strict lockdown” for a week from April 14 for the public interest.