Army to be deployed in Bangladesh to enforce strict Covid-19 lockdown

The government of Bangladesh has said it would be deploying the country’s armed forces alongside conventional law enforcement agencies to ensure Covid-19 lockdown rules were adhered to.

In a statement on Wednesday, the government said troops would be seen on the streets of Bangladesh on Thursday to enforce the country’s latest lockdown, amid soaring infections. “No one will be allowed go out except in case of an emergency during this period,” it said in a statement. 

The state has reimposed tight restrictions for a week, after a record spike in cases over the past few days. All offices and transportation are required to shut throughout this period, and factories are allowed to remain open as long as they comply with health protocols. The country’s garment-manufacturing industry employs more than four million people.  

Wednesday’s statement confirmed earlier comments, cited by the Guardian, by Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam, who told reporters on Monday night that the armed forces would be on patrol: “If anyone ignores their orders, legal action will be available to them.”

Bangladesh’s border with India was closed in April to prevent the spread of the Delta variant, although trade continued. However, the country has experienced a severe wave of new infections, registering 7,666 new cases on Tuesday and 112 deaths.

Its vaccination campaign has been severely hampered by India’s export ban on shots. To date, only around 3% of the nation’s 170 million people have been fully inoculated.