DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh on Friday resumed a two-week nationwide lockdown after nine days of easing to mark the Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice.

To stem the spread of the coronavirus, authorities said, lockdown this time will be enforced more strictly with active deployment of the army along with regular security forces.

Even the country’s main exporting readymade garment industry, which was out of the previous lockdown on July 1-13, will remain closed under this shutdown.

“We are going to enforce a very tough lockdown this time …,” Farhad Hossain, state minister for public administration, told the media on Thursday.

Expressing concerns that relaxation in restrictions may threaten the pandemic situation, he said that the army would remain active in the field to help civil administrations for proper implementation of the lockdown.

Bangladesh, an overcrowded South Asian country of nearly 165 million people, has been going through a critical course due to an alarming rise in coronavirus cases, including the Delta variant.

Till date, 18,685 people in Bangladesh have died of the lethal virus while caseload have surpassed 1.1 million since the pandemic was first detected in March last year.

To stem the spread of the disease, authorities have been conducting a nationwide massive vaccination drive. Around 11.5 million shots of COVID-19 vaccines have been served so far while nearly 11 million people have applied for the jabs.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people in a mad rush returned to their working places, including in the capital Dhaka, as the new lockdown has started today.

“It is very irrational that the government relaxed restrictions for nine days due to Eid, but allowed only one day to return to working places after the holidays,” Waliur Rahman, a private job holder who returned to his working place in Dhaka on Thursday by bus, told Anadolu Agency.

He added: “All seats of my bus were occupied by passengers and even many others were standing. On the highway police fined our bus and I saw many other public buses were also fined by executives.”

Mohammad Delwar Hossain, a bus supervisor, said that people were very crazy to ride on the bus even without tickets.

“We had nothing to do as people in rush forcefully entered my bus and said that they must go back to Dhaka but there were no tickets.”

Earlier, Bangladeshi authorities issued a 23-point lockdown list, including the closure of government, semi-government, autonomous, and non-government offices, ban on public transport, and shutdown of shopping malls, tourist centers, resorts, community centers, and all other recreation centers.

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