Friday, July 2, 2021

Bangladesh gov't using army to enforce lockdown

Bangladesh deploys army as strict week-long COVID lockdown begins | Al Jazeera - 

1 July 1, 2021 - "Bangladesh has gone into a strict COVID-19 lockdown, with the army and police ordered to stop people leaving their homes except for emergencies or to buy essentials. Army troopers have been deployed to patrol alongside civilian forces during the shutdown, which begins on Thursday.

"A government order said offices and transportation would be shut during the seven-day lockdown, which excludes the emergency services. 'No one will be allowed to leave home except for an emergency during this seven-day period,' the notice read. Dhaka’s police chief told reporters anyone leaving home without reason would be fined and may face arrest. 'If we need to file 5,000 cases and arrests a day, we will,' Shafiqul Islam told a news conference.

"Al Jazeera’s Tanvir Chowdhury, reporting from capital Dhaka, said with the new restrictions in place, there is not much traffic on the roads.... 'Stores are closed except for kitchen markets, grocery stores and pharmaceutical stores.'

"The government says the South Asian nation of 168 million people is seeing an 'alarming and dangerous' rise in cases, blamed largely on the highly infectious Delta variant first identified in neighbouring India. Hospitals are struggling, particularly in areas bordering India. Some rural towns have recorded infection rates of 70 percent.... Bangladesh has reported nearly 900,000 infections and just over 14,500 virus deaths, but experts say the actual toll could be much higher due to underreporting....

“'We are hopeful these tough measures will work. We have to contain the virus at any cost,' health department spokesman Robed Amin told AFP news agency.

"But Sagar, an 18-year-old street food seller in Dhaka, was angry. 'The government is imposing the lockdown only to kill the poor. There will be no work for us, no help from anyone,' he told AFP.

"Excluded from the lockdown are garment factories supplying Western giants such as H&M and Walmart."

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