Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities extend nationwide movement restrictions in Bangladesh through at least May 5 due to COVID-19. Other measures remain in place.

This alert affects Bangladesh

This alert began 22 Apr 2020 15:10 GMT and is scheduled to expire 05 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: May 5
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions; increased security; possible clashes

Summary
Authorities in Bangladesh have extended nationwide restrictions through May 5 to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The control measures, initially introduced in late March, were previously scheduled to expire April 25. Nonessential businesses are closed, and residents have been told 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 flights remain banned through at least April 30. A prohibition on private vehicle movement, except for vehicles carrying essential supplies, has continued. Long-distance bus, ferry, and train services are also suspended. Domestic transport restrictions could be extended further or modified in the coming days.

Additional stricter movement controls remain in place for 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 those cities, only allowing essential personnel in or out. Authorities may impose further movement restrictions in other cities in the coming days if the number of COVID-19 cases increases.

Panic-buying and associated localized shortages of essential goods may occur in some areas during stay-at-home periods. Sporadic clashes are possible if any group attempts to enforce business closures or defies official orders. Police will likely act quickly to control such incidents.

International Travel Restrictions
International commercial passenger flights, except those between Bangladesh and mainland China, are to remain suspended through at least April 30. As of April 22, land border crossing checkpoints remain closed. 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. Self-isolation for 14 days is still required after arrival. Persons arriving with a No Visa Required (NVR) certificate and without a medical certificate are quarantined for 14 days. Persons with both documents will also be required 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.

Advice
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.

Resources
World Health Organisation (WHO): www.who.int

Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh: http://caab.portal.gov.bd

Ministry of Public Administration (Bengali): https://mopa.gov.bd