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10-day shutdown starts today to stop Covid-19 pandemic

Published : Thursday, 26 March, 2020 at 12:00 AM  Count : 272

After shutting down of government, semi-government, autonomous and private offices for 10 days from March 26 to April 4 to prevent coronavirus outbreak, the government has virtually locked down the entire country including Dhaka city.
All inter-district passenger transport operations by roads, waterways, railways and airways have been suspended from 'zero hour' of Thursday.
The suspension of transport operations on waterways and domestics air-routes had come into effect from Tuesday while ban on road transports and railway service started from 'zero hour' of Thursday (March 26).
With the decision, although there is no announcement of official lockdown, the government virtually shut down the country including the capital city from other districts.
As a result, the people of the country wouldn't be allowed to move from their stations before April 4 beginning from Thursday.
Although the government urged the people to stay at home during the holidays, a huge number of people have left Dhaka city defying the government's restriction to prevent spreading of the deadly virus.
Most of the bus terminals and counters in the city, launch terminals and railway stations were found busy with huge gathering of people, who were intending to leave the city for their country homes.
Most of the people were found not maintain social distancing and without any preventive measures defying the infection risks of coronavirus. Instead, they were found in a festive mode in the public places.
The situation was created due to the government announcement of a 10-day general holiday without suspending
transport operations. As a result, most people including the public servants have decided to leave their stations defying the government order not to leave their work places.
The government, on March 23, declared general holiday from March 26 to April 4 to prevent transmission of coronavirus. The 10 consecutive days include holiday on the occasion of Independence Day and four weekends (Friday and Saturday).
Following the government decision to deploy armed forces to control the coronavirus transmission along with the divisional and district administrations, members of armed forces- army and navy-have already started working to combat the pandemic.
During the holidays, the armed forces will remain in the divisional and district towns from Tuesday to assist the civil administration to maintain social distancing and strengthen the virus preventive measures in coordination with the district magistrates (Deputy Commissioner).
At the same time, the government has also extended closure of educational institutions till April 9 instead of March 31. The Education Ministry on Tuesday extended the deadline further. Earlier on March 17, Bangladesh closed all educational institutions until March 31.
Transport owners have stopped plying city services following announcement from different ministries. As a result, the city dwellers and office-goers faced transport problems.
Most of the city streets were found deserted on Tuesday after the government announcement of a 10-day holiday. Most people have left Dhaka city taking advantage of a prolong holiday.
In a video conference from the Secretariat, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Tuesday gave the announcement of suspension of public transport services from March 26 to April 4 across the country due to outbreak of the deadly novel coronavirus.
Obaidul Quader, also General Secretary of Awami League (AL), said that all public transport services will remain suspended from March 26 to April 4 to prevent spread of coronavirus.
He said although the mass transport for carrying passengers will remain suspended, trucks, covered vans and vehicles carrying medicine, fuel and fresh items will remain out of the suspension order. But, no passenger will be allowed to travel by goods-carrying vehicles.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) suspended public water transport services from Tuesday afternoon to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The suspension will continue until further notice.
BIWTA's Joint Director and in charge of Dhaka River Port AKM Arif Uddin told the Daily Observer that the BIWTA decided to suspend all public water transports from Tuesday afternoon to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across the country. However, the emergency goods carrying vessels will continue to ply. "The suspension will continue until further notice," he added.
Besides, the Railways Ministry on Tuesday gave announcement of suspending railway services across the country for the same reason. The Civil Aviation and Tourism Ministry has also decided to suspend Biman's flight operations during the period.
In a press release the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said the armed forces have been deployed to control the transmission of the pandemic of coronavirus. As per the government directive, the army will make necessary coordination as part of the deployment to assist local administration in controlling the coronavirus in all districts from Tuesday under the 'In Aid to Civil Power'.
Bangladesh Army will start working with the local administration in all districts of the country from Wednesday. But, the army troops were deployed on the streets on March 24.
After the coordination activities, from Wednesday the army will assist and coordinate the actions taken by the local administration. They will make a list of all infected with the coronavirus and ensure that people returning from overseas are in quarantine.
The army will also provide medical assistance at the division and district levels.
The Bangladesh Navy will work to assist the civil administration in coastal areas. The Air Force will be in charge of the hospital's medical equipment and emergency transport.

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Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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