Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities impose movement restrictions in multiple cities in Bangladesh as of April 6. National restrictions remain in place.

This alert affects Bangladesh

This alert began 06 Apr 2020 15:12 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
Bangladesh continues to enforce measures to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). In addition to nationwide control measures, as of April 6, authorities are implementing movement controls in Dhaka, nearby Narayanganj, and Chittagong. Officials are prohibiting individuals from leaving their homes and have set up checkpoints at entrances and exits to those cities, only allowing essential personnel in or out. Officials have closed nonessential commercial establishments. Authorities may impose further movement restrictions in other cities in the coming days if the number of COVID-19 cases increases.

Nationwide control measures also remain in place. International and domestic commercial passenger flights will remain suspended until at least April 14, with the exception of those between Bangladesh and mainland China. Land border crossing checkpoints are closed. The existing prohibition on private vehicle movement, except for vehicles carrying essential supplies, will also stay in effect until at least April 14. Bus, ferry, and train services will remain suspended for the same time frame, though some urban passenger van and autorickshaw operations may resume in some areas. Transport restrictions will probably be extended further or otherwise modified in the coming days.

Further nationwide measures, including a 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, are ongoing. The government has encouraged residents to stay home and ensure social distancing when out in public. Officials have also advised nonessential public and private entities to operate on a telecommuting basis to the extent possible. Educational facilities are closed through April 14.

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.

While restrictions on international flights and land crossings have effectively shut down most inbound international travel, authorities in Bangladesh have maintained some specific travel bans. Any travelers who have been in the EU or Iran since March 1 are barred from entering the country through at least April 15. 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 will be quarantined for 14 days. Persons with both documents will also be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

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