Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Bangladesh extends flight ban until at least May 7 due to COVID-19. Nationwide movement restrictions to continue through at least May 5.

This alert affects Bangladesh

This alert began 28 Apr 2020 09:00 GMT and is scheduled to expire 05 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions; increased security; possible clashes

Authorities in Bangladesh have extended an ongoing ban on domestic and international passenger flight services until at least May 7 to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Exempted flights include those to and from China, as well as for emergency, cargo, and repatriation purposes. Nationwide control measures, initially introduced in late March, will be in force through at least May 5. Nonessential businesses are closed, and residents are to remain within their homes as much as possible. The ban on all social and public gatherings, as well as the closure of public spaces, such as educational institutions, tourist attractions, religious sites, dine-in restaurants, public squares, and entertainment venues, will remain in effect during the period. Officials have also imposed a nightly 1800-0600 curfew. Violators of the order could face legal sanctions.

Domestic transport restrictions prohibiting the movement of long-distance bus, ferry, and train services and private vehicles continue, except for essential purposes. Additional movement controls remain in place across at least 46 out of 64 districts of Bangladesh as of April 28; affected locations include urban centers such as Dhaka, Narayanganj, Chittagong, and Cox's Bazar. Officials are prohibiting individuals from leaving their neighborhoods and have set up checkpoints at entrances and exits to such areas, only allowing essential personnel in or out. Authorities may impose further movement restrictions in other locations in the coming days if the number of COVID-19 cases increases.

Most nonessential businesses remain closed, while government offices and essential businesses are operating with limited capacity for reduced hours. Easing of business restrictions is likely in the coming weeks as a result of the Islamic observance of Ramadan through May 24. Panic-buying and associated localized shortages of essential goods may occur in some areas. Sporadic clashes are possible if any group attempts to enforce business closures or defy official orders such as the prohibition of congregational prayers. Labor demonstrations, mainly outside garment factories, may occur in case business closures are prolonged. Police will likely act quickly and forcefully to control any disruptions or violence.

International Travel Restrictions
International commercial passenger flights, except those between Bangladesh and mainland China, are to remain suspended through at least May 7. As of April 28, land border crossings remain closed for passenger transit, though trade is permitted. While the restrictions on international flights and land crossings have effectively shut down most inbound international travel, authorities in Bangladesh have maintained additional travel restrictions. Any foreign nationals arriving in Bangladesh will be required to provide a medical certificate (with an English translation) no older than 72 hours on arrival, indicating that they do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Persons will still need to self-isolate for 14 days after arrival. Officials will quarantine persons arriving with a No Visa Required (NVR) certificate and without a medical certificate for 14 days. Persons with both documents will need to self-isolate for 14 days. International cargo, medical, and humanitarian flights remain ongoing.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the government correspond with similar actions taken by other regional governments in recent days in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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