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01 Apr 2020 | 09:40 PM UTC

Bangladesh: Government extends nationwide lockdown until April 11 /update 5

Bangladesh extends nationwide lockdown until April 11 to limit spread of COVID-19; further spread of the virus expected

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Event

On Tuesday, March 31, the Bangladeshi government announced that it will be extending a nationwide lockdown until Saturday, April 11, to prevent further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country. The lockdown was originally due to expire on Saturday, April 4. Under the lockdown, passenger travel via sea, rail, and air routes will be banned, while public transportation on roads will be suspended as a precautionary measure. All non-essential businesses and educational institutions will be closed except for pharmacies, food markets, and other necessities. Authorities have also advised the public to stay at home and to only travel outside if absolutely necessary. Additionally, security forces have been deployed to enforce lockdown measures.

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 Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, or Switzerland since Sunday, March 1, will be prohibited from entering Bangladesh. In addition, individuals arriving from COVID-19 affected countries will be quarantined for 14 days. Meanwhile, flights from Bahrain, Bhutan, Hong Kong, India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Oman, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, and the UAE continue to remain suspended as of March 31.

As of Wednesday, April 1, the Ministry of Health has confirmed 54 cases of COVID-19 nationwide, including six fatalities and 25 recoveries. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.

Context

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 (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 labored 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.

Advice

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 virus.