Despite spike in COVID-19 deaths, Bangladesh reopens offices, transport

Public and private offices reopened in Bangladesh after the authorities removed some of the restrictions implemented to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, more than nine weeks ago.

“We are gradually returning to normalcy as the lockdown is lifted,’’ Health Ministry official, Nasima Sultana, told a news conference in Dhaka on Sunday.

She called upon everyone to follow the “post-lockdown” guidelines to stay safe.

It is necessary to wear a face mask and ensure physical distancing to prevent the virus from spreading, Sultana added.

Returning to offices and relaunching public transport services coincided with Bangladesh announcing on Sunday a staggering 40 COVID-19 deaths, raising the total death toll to 650.

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So far in the South Asian region, more than 47,000 people have contracted the novel coronavirus, with 2,545 new cases recorded Sunday.

On 26 March, eight days after the first death due to the COVID-19 respiratory disease, Bangladesh went into lockdown.

The restrictions were then extended until May 30.

Television footage showed masked officials at the Bangladesh Secretariat, the main administrative center in central Dhaka, entering their offices through improvised disinfectant tunnels.

They also had their temperatures checked  too.

Many passenger ferries were full, although half their capacity was borne by trains to ensure physical distancing.

Long-distance buses will start again from Monday, Obaidul Quader, road transport minister, said.

Schools shall remain closed until further notice.

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