Bangladeshi authorities continue to ease restrictions introduced in efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of Tuesday, November 17. Authorities have permitted the opening of many commercial establishments, including cinemas, as long as social distancing is observed. Individuals are required to wear face masks and coverings in all public areas, government offices, and businesses, and public transport services that are operating must refuse admittance to those without face masks. Nonessential public gatherings remain banned and schools remain closed.
Authorities previously announced a traffic light system for lockdown restrictions and local officials are authorized to impose stricter COVID-19 measures in areas deemed as high-risk. Areas across the country with a high number of COVID-19 cases are designated red zones. Cox's Bazar town has been classified as a red zone and specific lockdown restrictions have been imposed in the area; all types of shops will be closed apart from food markets, which will be limited to opening on Sundays and Thursdays only. A limited public transport service has resumed across Bangladesh; however public transport in designated red zones may be restricted. Land border crossings have reopened for passenger and cargo transit; ports have also reopened for cargo services.
Banking services remain limited with many shops operating reduced hours. Emergency services including hospitals remain open. Some hotels and guesthouses have reopened, though not all, and services are limited.
Commercial passenger flights have been allowed to resume from a number of locations including Bahrain, China, India, Malaysia, the Maldives, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Turkey, the UAE, and the UK. All foreign nationals departing from Bangladesh are required to provide a COVID-19 test certificate issued within 72 hours of travel. Travelers will be exempt from this measure so long as they've spent less than 14 days in Bangladesh or are under the age of ten. Separately, on arrival in Bangladesh, all foreign nationals are required to produce a medical certificate issued within 72 hours of travel indicating they are COVID-19 negative. Arriving passengers are required to either self-isolate or quarantine in government-designated hospitals for 14 days.
As of November 17, there have been 434,472 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Bangladesh and 6215 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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