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Home Lao

Run-up to lockdown: Madness, again

BANGLADESH (The Daily Star/ANN) -- The same old pictures of thousands of people leaving the capital and panic buying at grocery stores have returned as the country braces for another lockdown.
Until last night the decision was to enforce a seven-day lockdown from Monday amid the alarming rise in new cases of Covid-19 and deaths.
But Sk Rafiqul Islam, additional secretary at cabinet division, last night told The Daily Star that the countrywide lockdown will be enforced from July 1.
Meanwhile, the news that the lockdown will be from tomorrow triggered an exodus of people leaving Dhaka for their hometowns. Due to travel restrictions between Dhaka and the rest of the country, the usual mode of transport has not been available.

Scores of people, many with businesses and jobs in the capital, have started leaving for their hometowns after hearing about a strict shutdown.     --Photo Palash Khan

As a result, hundreds of people boarded trucks, pick-ups, three-wheelers, human hauliers and rode motorcycles to reach their destinations.
Long-haul buses have not been entering or leaving Dhaka since June 23.
Shimulia-Banglabazar and Paturia-Daulatdia ferry terminals remained extremely crowded yesterday as people headed for the southern districts across the Padma.
Grocery stores, and kitchen markets across Dhaka struggled to cope with what many have said is a wave of panic buying.
The Press Information Department’s statement on Friday said nobody would be allowed outdoors unless there is an emergency. This is the first time the government has used the word “lockdown” while announcing coronavirus restrictions.
Health care facilities are struggling with the number of new patients as the delta variant of coronavirus has spread in the communities.
Farhad Hossain, state minister for public administration, told The Daily Star that the army and Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) personnel along with the police would be deployed to ensure proper enforcement of the lockdown. Throughout Saturday, hundreds of people, including women and children, thronged the roads at the outer edge of the city with luggage and other essentials. Many have said that the seven-day lockdown will be extended.
At Gabtoli bus terminal, people were arriving throughout the day on rickshaws and auto-rickshaws. They went across the Gabtoli bridge on foot and boarded local buses in Amin Bazar to reach their destinations. A large number of people were also entering the capital in the same way.
In Amin Bazar, small vehicles were being hired in exchange for exorbitant sums by the people.
Microbuses were charging Tk 2,000 per person to go to Rangpur.
Jahidul Islam, a 33-year-old construction worker, was returning to his village in Kurigram, fearing that he would not be able to find work during the lockdown.



(Latest Update June 28, 2021)


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