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Lockdown: Offices, factories to stay shut from Jul 23-Aug 5

Lockdown: Offices, factories to stay shut from Jul 23-Aug 5

All workplaces, including factories and offices, will stay shut during the fortnight-long lockdown starting Jul 23, as per the latest gazette notification that came on the eve of the three-day Eid vacation.

The holy Eid-ul-Azha was celebrated in Bangladesh on Jul 21.

The lockdown takes effect at 6:00 a.m. on Jul 23, during which all forms of public transport – including trains, domestic flights and water routes – and personal vehicles will be prohibited from the streets and highways. Only vehicles carrying emergency goods are allowed.

The industries exempt from the order are those involved in the production of food items like mills, processing and preserving of animal hides, manufacturing of drugs, supplying oxygen, and producing items for tackling Covid-19.

Only those garment factories or units that make face masks and personal protective equipment can run during the lockdown that ends on Aug 5, local media reported citing a senior official of the commerce ministry.

The latest round of lockdown is the second time during the pandemic that factories are being closed down; the first time was in March last year. Even during the previous "strict" lockdown when the army was deployed onto the streets and people were arrested and imprisoned for stepping out of their homes, the factories were kept open.

The new gazette circulated yesterday is an extension of the old order issued on Jul 13, 2021, which outlined what can and cannot operate during the upcoming lockdown that ends on midnight of Aug 5.

The order had stated that all shopping malls and markets will be closed. Only kitchen markets and corner shops can stay open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., two hours less than what it used to be before.

All forms of social gatherings will be prohibited, including religious and political gatherings. No restaurant can provide dine-in service and can only offer takeaways.