‘Lockdown’ extended till May 23 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 17, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:02 AM, May 17, 2021

‘Lockdown’ extended till May 23

Experts fear things could turn in last of month

The government has extended the ongoing countrywide restrictions on movement and inter-district public transport until May 23 to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Even as infection and death numbers have been declining following the second wave of the virus, the recent detection of an Indian variant and its sub-type, called double-mutant, has caused concern especially as hundreds of thousands travelled within the country to celebrate Eid last week.

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Experts fear that the country may experience the impact of the Eid rush from the last week of May.

Issuing the circular yesterday, the cabinet division said all offices and organisations related to revenue collection have been included under emergency services, which will be out of the purview of the restrictions.

Besides, shops that sell food items can remain open and hotels and restaurants will only be allowed to provide takeaway or online services during the period, the circular said.

Conditions that have been imposed in phases since April 12 will remain in force during the extended period of restrictions.

The government also extended the closure of all educational institutions until May 29.

The education ministry on Saturday night and the primary and mass education ministry yesterday afternoon made the announcements.

Both ministries said online education at educational institutions will continue during the closure.

The primary and mass education ministry said students of primary schools and kindergartens should stay at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The closure, first brought into effect on March 17 last year, was extended several times.

On Saturday, State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain said they fear that Covid-19 infection may rise after May 23 because of the Indian variant, people indiscriminately going to markets without wearing masks, and visiting their home districts for Eid.

He said mask wearing needs to be ensured at all places across the country in order to contain the spread of Covid-19 infection.

"Without ensuring masks at all levels, we won't be able to contain Covid-19," he said.

There has been a discussion on giving police power to ensure people wearing masks.

"We can conduct mobile courts under the existing law. But if we give police the power, they will be able to carry out their job [ensuring people are wearing masks] smoothly," the state minister said.

Following an alarming increase in cases in March, the government enforced restrictions from April 5. It was later relaxed, allowing buses on the streets in 11 cities and shops and malls to open for eight hours every day till April 13.

A "strict lockdown" was imposed from April 14 but it was again relaxed before Eid. The government allowed buses to ply inside districts and shopping malls and markets to reopen ahead of Eid.




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