The authorities collected 553 samples from across Bangladesh in the last 24 hours. (Photo Credit: Pixabay/Representative Image)
Bangladesh on Saturday extended the nationwide transport shutdown till April 11 as the country recorded its biggest single-day increase of COVID-19 cases with nine new positive tests, taking the country’s total to 70. The country reported two more deaths from the novel coronavirus, taking the total number of fatalities to eight, according to data released by the health directorate on Saturday. One of deceased was 90-year-old and the other was 68 and both had histories of heart disease and stroke respectively, Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Director Meerjady Sabrina Flora told a virtual media briefing in Dhaka.
The tally of infections increase to 70 after nine more people, including two children aged under 10, tested positive in the last 24 hours. This is the biggest jump in positive tests over a 24-hour period since Bangladesh announced its first cases on March 8.
The total number of recovered patients is 30. The authorities collected 553 samples from across the country in the last 24 hours and tested 434, Abul Kalam Azad, director general of the Directorate General of Health Services, said in an online briefing. At least five among the new patients came into contact with a coronavirus infected person, said the IEDCR director.
In view of the increasing number of positive cases, the government has decided to extend the suspension of public transport services until April 11 to curb the coronavirus outbreak across the country. The Roads Transport and Highways Division issued a statement in this regard on Saturday. The government has also ordered an intensified security vigil to enforce social distancing and quarantining of COVID-19 suspects.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh Railway has no plans to open passenger train services until April 11, its Additional Director General (operation) Miya Jahan told Dhaka Tribune. "As passenger trains can spread out coronavirus, the service will remain suspended until further notice,” he said. On March 24, Bangladesh Railway suspended all passenger train service to curb coronavirus outbreak.
However, special train will be operated, if necessary, the ADG added. On March 23, the government declared general holidays from March 26 to April 4. On March 26, Bangladesh imposed a travel ban on all modes of transport – rail, road, air, and waterways, except for emergencies – across the country to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 1, the nationwide shutdown was extended till April 11 to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus. A government spokesman, meanwhile, said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will address the nation on Sunday over the situation.
Bangladesh authorities earlier called out military and navy troops and kept air force standby to carry emergency supplies and transportations while army chief General Aziz Ahmed said the troops would be on COVID-19 duty until the government recalled them to barracks.
The country ordered shutting down of passenger transports of all modes alongside closing temporarily government and private offices and shopping centres, sparing the kitchen markets, pharmacies and other essential services alone.