Bangladeshi officials announced on Tuesday, April 28, that Biman Bangladesh Airlines, Bangladesh's national carrier, will extend its international and domestic flight suspension until Friday, May 15, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) has also extended the existing suspension of all international flights, except to and from China, until Thursday, May 7. Arrivals from China are still required to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Cargo flights and air ambulances are exempt from the suspension.
Despite the nationwide lockdown, which remains in place until Tuesday, May 5, Bangladesh's textile factories, which employ over four million workers, re-opened for production on Monday, April 27. Prior to the factories reopening, textile workers had staged dozens of small protests throughout the country demanding back pay, government support, and a return to work.
A daily nationwide curfew remains in effect from 18:00 to 06:00 (local time), and anyone found violating the curfew may face prosecution. Travel via sea, rail, and air routes continues to be suspended, while overland public transportation is prohibited. Educational institutions are closed, while pharmacies, food markets, and other essential businesses continue to operate. Authorities continue to advise the public to stay at home and to only travel if necessary.
In addition, some 29 of Dhaka's 50 districts (thanas) remain under localized lockdown to combat the spread of COVID-19. Buildings, streets, and in certain cases whole neighborhoods have been placed under stringent lockdown by police, with residents forbidden to enter or exit.
Visas on arrival have been suspended for all nationalities, while passengers with a valid visa will need to present a medical certificate issued within 72 hours of departure to certify that they are not infected with COVID-19. As of March 31, foreign nationals who have visited Europe or Iran since March 1 will be prohibited from entering Bangladesh. In addition, individuals arriving from COVID-19-affected countries will be quarantined for 14 days.
As of April 29, Bangladeshi health authorities have confirmed 6462 cases of COVID-19 nationwide, including 155 fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.