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Lockdowns to expire across Bangladesh


Lockdowns to expire across Bangladesh

Dhaka Lockdown
Photo: Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh’s latest COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are due to lapse today.

The lockdown orders suspended inter-city travel, confined residents to their homes for all but essential errands, and cut business’ trading hours. Introduced on April 5th, these restrictions attempted to control a 350% surge in cases following months of decreased numbers. As a result, Dhaka reported an 80% reduction in infections on May 13th totaling 1,290—a major drop from a peak of over 7,600 cases on April 7th.

Regardless, border camps housing nearly a million Rohingya refugees fleeing religious persecution in neighboring Myanmar remain an ongoing vulnerability to Dhaka’s COVID-19 response. Moreover, the risks of Bangladesh experiencing a ‘third wave’ of COVID-19 cases originating in these camps remains very high in the short- to medium-term, given their unsanitary and overcrowded conditions.

In response, aside from likely extensions of travel restrictions and border closures, expect Dhaka to increase vaccination rates. Dhaka’s recent approvals of Chinese and Russian vaccines point to this approach. The new vaccines fill the void left by Indian-manufactured AstraZeneca’s vaccines—halted due to India’s second wave. However, the effectiveness of the new vaccines remains uncertain and, unless Dhaka significantly ramps up vaccine supply, Bangladesh is not expected to be fully covered until 2023.

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