Rise in Covid-19 cases force Bangladesh to shut offices and transport

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A worker set up oxygen cylinder at a store as cylinders demand rise up causes of the COVID-19 patients increasing rapidly across the country, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on April 11, 2021. (Photo by Mamunur Rashid/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Monday, April 12, 2021: Given the seven fold increase in Covid-19 cases in just a month, the Bangladesh authorities on Monday decided to shut all offices and transport totally.

The authorities ordered an eight-day closure of all offices and international and domestic transport, as coronavirus cases hit a new high. “The drastic measures, which will virtually seal of the country, will start Wednesday,” said a government statement.

The South Asian nation of 160 million people has recorded 684,756 cases and 9,739 deaths, but the number of daily cases has increased sevenfold in a month. The rise in cases has left the hospitals in cities across the country overburdened and claimed that the daily deaths have now more than doubled which is a cause of concern.

“All government, semi-government, autonomous and private office and financial institutions will be closed,” said a cabinet statement. International and domestic flights will be halted along with maritime, rail and bus services, the order added.

All stores — except those supplying food — will be shut, but authorities will allow factories to remain open if companies organise their own transport. The cabinet said the closure would end at midnight on April 21.

“There is no alternative now to this in order to curb the Covid-19 surge,” Farhad Hossain, Junior Minister for Public Administration, said ahead of the clampdown announcement.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh opposition leader Khaleda Zia, 74, tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday despite being under house detention. The two-time former Prime Minister has been serving a 10-year jail term for corruption but has been allowed to stay under surveillance at her Dhaka home since last year.