Bangladesh suspends Dhaka public transport amid virus surge
All long-route public buses, water vessels, trains put on hold until June 30, say authorities
Bangladeshi authorities on Tuesday imposed a nine-day ban on public transport to and from the capital Dhaka in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Long-route buses, water vessels, popularly known as launch, and trains are the mediums of transport suspended until June 30, while no order has been issued regarding domestic flights until this report is filed.
“All launch services have been suspended from today (Tuesday) and until June 30, no water vessels will leave or enter capital Dhaka,” Commodore Golam Sadeq, Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority chairman, told Anadolu Agency over the phone.
All long-route public buses have also been suspended for the same period, Khandaker Enayet Ullah, secretary-general of the Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association, confirmed to Anadolu Agency.
He said the restrictions were imposed following a government order late Monday.
“In the wake of rising casualties and infections, the government strictly directed us to follow the lockdown,” he added.
The authorities will decide later on whether the restrictions will be extended further based on the prevailing situation, the official also said.
Later in the day, railway services have also been suspended until June 30,
Mohammad Masud Sarwar, the manager of Dhaka’s main Kamalapur railway station, confirmed to Anadolu Agency.
The sudden declaration on suspension of public transport services has locked thousands of people in Dhaka who came to the capital city for different purposes.
“I came to Dhaka two days ago for medical treatment. I was supposed to leave the city today. But suddenly I came to know that all buses and launches have been suspended,” Md. Kayum Hossain, a patient from south of Bangladesh, told Anadolu Agency.
The government should have declared it a couple of days before the restrictions were imposed so that people can leave the city on an emergency basis, he said.
Monjuara Begum arrived in Dhaka one week ago to visit her brother for some emergency family meeting and was scheduled to leave the city on Wednesday.
“It is unexpected that such an embargo has been imposed overnight without giving us minimum time.”
Meanwhile, thousands of low-income and needy people who have been locked in Dhaka are reportedly leaving the megacity through different ways, mostly being packed in private micro-buses with extra fairs.
The South Asian delta nation of 165 million people has so far recorded 861,150 cases of coronavirus and 13,702 casualties with a sharp rise recently.
According to the latest government update on Tuesday, 4,846 new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day jump since mid-April. A further 76 people also died over the past day.
The infection rate also continued to rise, standing at 19.27% on Monday, much higher than the WHO-recommended rate of 5%.
Amid this alarming situation, Bangladeshi health authorities resumed the mass inoculation with Pfizer-BioNTech shots and Chinese Sinopharm jabs with only about 1.3 million doses of vaccines in hand.
Only 3% of the population have been vaccinated, while 1.5 million people seem to be deprived of the second doses of AstraZeneca jabs as vaccine stocks run out due to India’s supply suspension.
On Monday, Bangladesh imposed a full lockdown in seven districts, including four districts surrounding the capital.