Covid restrictions on April 12-13: Confusion reigns supreme | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 11, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:35 AM, April 11, 2021

Covid restrictions on April 12-13: Confusion reigns supreme

With no directive about the two days between the "lockdowns", many said they were confused as to what would happen on April 12 and 13.

Even transport regulators and companies do not know whether buses, trains, launches, and domestic flights will operate during the two days.

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Many social media users have asked if anyone knew about the government decision so that they can make plans before a stricter lockdown begins on April 14.

However, sources said a meeting of secretaries of the ministries concerned would be held today over the situation with the cabinet secretary in the chair where decisions regarding the two days and the next lockdown would be made.

A state minister and two senior officials said that the  government is not likely to lift the restrictions imposed on long-haul transport services for the two-day period.

Another source, however, said the government might give a window for people to leave Dhaka before April 14.

Meanwhile, people were seen leaving Dhaka on smaller vehicles throughout yesterday as they believed that the government would keep extending the lockdown. Stores selling essential goods saw a deluge of shoppers hoping to stock up on daily necessities.

On April 4, the Cabinet Division issued an 11-point directive mentioning the restrictions to be effective from 6:00am on April 5 to 12:00am on April 11 to contain the spread of coronavirus. It said violations of the restrictions would result in punishment.

Different offices, mills and factories were exempt from the restrictions and the government allowed resumption of bus services in the 11 cities of the country from April 7.

On April 8, the government announced that shops and malls can be kept open for eight hours from April 9 to 13 despite concerns from health experts.

People in large numbers were seen coming out on the streets to buy commodities from shops or to go to offices and businesses. People began to hangout at neighbourhood tea-stalls. Very few steps by the authority were visible to enforce the restrictions.

Experts wondered whether the half-hearted enforcement of restrictions would be effective at all.

Then two ministers on Friday announced that the country will be under a strict lockdown for a week from April 14.

Except for emergency services, all government and private offices and factories will remain closed during the lockdown and public transport services will be suspended, said State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain.

CONFUSION OVER APRIL 12 AND 13

As per the April 4 circular, the current restrictions will end today.

A government official on Friday night called this correspondent asking about the government decision for April 12 and 13 and wanted to know whether long-haul buses would operate.

Many members of the popular Traffic Alert page on Facebook also asked whether public transport would resume for the two days.

Contacted, Khondaker Enayet Ullah, secretary general of Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association, said the association had yet to receive any directive in this regard.

"I have talked to the BRTA chairman, but he could not give any decision either. Transport association leaders from different districts are also asking me about the decision," Enayet told The Daily Star yesterday.

Contacted, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) Chairman Nur Mohammad Mazumder said a circular regarding restrictions is likely to be issued following a meeting today.

"I think everything will be clear once the circular is issued," he added.

Commodore Golam Sadeq, chairman of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), said, "We did not get any directive [about April 12 and 13]. However, I think restrictions on [long-route] public transport will remain in force."

"We may know about it tomorrow [today]," he told this correspondent.

Jahangir Hossain, general manager (east) of Bangladesh Railway, said passenger trains were unlikely to operate in the two-day period. "We are expecting to get the directive tomorrow," he said.

State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain said, "I have no idea about any decision about the two days."

"Our main goal is to reduce the infection rate. So, I think there is no scope to relax the restrictions. So, the restrictions may remain unchanged [in the two days]," he told The Daily Star, "However, the prime minister will give a directive tomorrow [today]," he added.

 

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