July 1, 2022, 8:19 am

Staff Correspondent

2021-06-22 06:34:48 BdST

Govt to cut off rail links, water transport services to seven locked-down districts

Seven districts surrounding Dhaka will be disconnected from rail and water transport services for nine days as part of the government's efforts to enforce a strict lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The districts of Manikganj, Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Gazipur, Madaripur, Rajbari and Gopalganj are the subjects of the latest curbs.

Trains will pass through the districts without stopping, while passenger vessels will also be barred from docking at the ports there, the Railways Department and BIWTA announced on Monday.

The restrictions will come into effect on Tuesday and will continue until Jun 30, the Cabinet Division said earlier in the day.

The Dhaka-Madaripur, Dhaka-Mirkadim, Munshiganj, Narayanganj, Shimulia (Munshiganj) - Banglabazar (Madaripur), Majhikandi (Shariatpur), Aricha (Manikganj)- Kazirhat, Paturia (Manikganj) - Daulatpur (Rajbari) waterways will all be off-limits to all types of passenger vessels during the lockdown, the BIWTA said in a statement.

Launches leaving from other districts of the country will not be able to lay anchor at Madaripur, Paturia, Daulatdia, Aricha, Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Mirkadim docks, it added.

However, vessels carrying goods and providing emergency services will be exempt from the curbs.

Railway Minister Nurul Islam Sujan said, "Trains will not stop in any of the seven districts with railway stations. No passengers will get on and off from there and the trains will pass directly through those areas.

"If there are any direct trains to any of the locked-down districts, the services on those routes will be stopped.”

Of the seven districts, Manikganj, Munshiganj and Madaripur are not on the railway network.

All activities, including public transport, will remain suspended during the new lockdown starting on Tuesday. The districts will be sealed off, which means no one will be able to get in or out.

Similar COVID-19 curbs are currently in place in Satkhira, Bagerhat’s Mongla, Jashore Municipality, Abhaynagar, Benapole, Sharsha, Kushtia Sadar, Chuadanga’s Damurhuda Upazila, Magura, Rajshahi City Corporation, Natore Municipality and Singra and Bogura Municipality, according to Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam.

On Apr 14, Bangladesh tightened restrictions in what came to be known as the “strictest lockdown” in which people were barred from going outside, except for an emergency, in an effort to contain a massive spike in COVID cases.

The restrictions somewhat eased after the rate of infection dropped a bit in May. But with the spread of the Delta variant, infections and fatalities surged again in June.

Bangladesh on Monday registered 4,636 new coronavirus cases, the most in a day since Apr 14, raising the total caseload to 851,668.

Another 78 people died of the virus in the 24 hours to 8 am on Monday, increasing the total death toll to 13,626, according to the latest data released by the government.

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