Health Desk – 29 Mar, 2021: The government is likely to clamp fresh restrictions on the movement of people and travel as part of the efforts to curb a new wave of coronavirus infection.
The authorities may announce the measures specific for some areas on Monday, Health Minister Zahid Maleque told to media on Sunday night.
“Different forms of lockdown may be announced tomorrow,” the minister said.
No people would be allowed to go in or out of Chattogram, Cox’s Bazar, Bandarban and Khagrachhari, according to him.
Social and religious gatherings, such as wedding parties and Waz-Mahfil, will be banned temporarily.
Maleque said the health ministry sent a set of proposals to the Prime Minister’s Office on containing the outbreak.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would issue some directives based on the proposals, which included “various types of lockdown”, he said.
The outbreak had eased in January and February before infections began rising again in early March.
In the daily count published on Sunday, the government reported 3,908 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, highest for a day in 9 months. The tally of infection rose to 595,714 as the death toll surged by 35 in the same period to 8,904.
Hasina ordered the Awami League and its affiliates to prepare for a new wave of coronavirus infection and support the people at an event earlier on Sunday.
Noting that the government had to defer school reopening until Eid-ul-Azha due to the spike in infection, Hasina said her administration would reissue some directives to control the outbreak.
She instructed the Awami League leaders to make sure the directives are followed to the letter.
Maleque said last week that the government had not yet decided on a fresh nationwide lockdown. It was emphasising tests and health rules, such as wearing masks and maintaining physical distancing.
“I think infections will decrease if we can control the outbreak where the cases are on the rise. We will think about something else after controlling infections in the places where the infections are coming from,” the minister had said.
The health ministry had wanted restrictions at tourist spots where the coronavirus transmission rates are high, according to him. “We’ve already taken steps,” he had said.
As the number of coronavirus cases in the country has been on the rise for some time now, the health directorate held an emergency meeting on Mar 16 to explore ways to curtail the spread of the virus.
The officials discussed strengthening the rules of isolation for COVID patients, strict quarantine policy for people coming close to the patients, a minimum 14-day quarantine for the travellers from abroad, and assistance from the armed forces to enforce these rules.
The possibility of a complete lockdown was also considered along with the imposition of restrictions on public gatherings and keeping educational institutions closed while maintaining ‘economic balance’.
Like most other nations, Bangladesh imposed the lockdown measures in March 2020 after COVID-19 infections began surging across the world.
During the lockdown, people were mostly housebound with offices, courts, educational institutions, factories, markets, shops, places of worship, flights, trains and public transport system shut down.
The government allowed the public transport system to resume operation and offices to reopen after the 66-day lockdown. Other activities also became almost normal gradually.