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Bangladesh tightens COVID lockdown

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Restrictions on activities and movement have been in place since mid-April as cases and deaths jumped.

Infections declined in May but started to rise again this month, with over 5,000 new cases and a pandemic-high of 119 deaths on Sunday, according to the health ministry.

The resurgence has prompted the Government to toughen restrictions in stages from Monday (yesterday), with economic activity — including shops, markets, transportation and offices — to shut down by Thursday.

People will be ordered to stay at homes while only emergency services and export-oriented factories continue operations. The coming closure has sparked an exodus from Dhaka, the capital.

Ferries have been operating on overdrive, with some running services 24 hours a day and cramming more than 1,000 passengers onto each trip.

A senior official at the state-run Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation told AFP that at least 50,000 people had crossed the river by ferries on Sunday alone.

Bangladesh has reported more than 880,000 infections and just over 14,000 virus deaths, but experts say the actual toll could be much higher due to possible underreporting.


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