Traffic, pedestrians and joggers reappeared on the streets of Shanghai on Wednesday as China’s largest city began returning to normalcy after a strict two-month COVID-19 lockdown that drew unusual protests over its heavy-handed implementation. Shanghai’s Communist Party committee, the city’s most powerful political body, issued a letter online proclaiming the lockdown’s success and thanking citizens for their “support and contributions.” That came amid a steady rollback in compulsory measures that have upended daily life for millions while severely disrupting the economy and global supply chains. Government officials in recent days appeared ready to accelerate the gradual easing of restrictions. While defending President and Communist Party chief Xi Jinping’s hardline “zero-COVID policy,” the country’s leadership appears to be acknowledging the public backlash against measures seen as trampling already severely limited rights to privacy and participation in the workings of government. In one such step, the Cabinet’s Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism issued a circular Tuesday laying out rules banning “non-standard, simple and rude indoor disinfection” by mostly untrained teams in Shanghai and elsewhere that have left homes damaged and led to reports of property theft. Also read: China’s ‘zero-COVID’ restrictions curb May 1 holiday travel Full bus and subway service in Shanghai was being restored from Wednesday, with rail connections with the rest of China to follow. Still, more than half a million people in the city of 25 million remain under lockdown or in designated control zones because virus cases are still being detected. The government says all restrictions will be gradually lifted, but local neighborhood committees still wield considerable power to implement sometimes conflicting and arbitrary policies. Negative PCR tests for COVID-19 taken within the previous 48 hours also remain standard in Shanghai, Beijing and elsewhere for permission to enter public venues. That measure didn’t deter people in Shanghai from gathering outside to eat and drink under the watch of police deployed to discourage large crowds from forming. Cao Yue, who works in the hard-hit travel industry, said she was glad to see “many happy people around me on the street.” Cao said the past two months under lockdown was a depressing experience. “At the beginning of the lockdown I felt hard in my heart because I didn’t know what to do and it was difficult to buy food at the beginning,” she said. “It was quite depressing to be locked at home and see the whole Shanghai under lockdown.” Lu Kexin, a high school senior visiting the famed riverside Bund district for the first time since late March, said she went crazy being trapped at home for so long. “I’m very happy, extremely happy, all the way, too happy,” she said. Schools will partially reopen on a voluntary basis, and shopping malls, supermarkets, convenience stores and drug stores will reopen gradually at no more than 75% of their total capacity. Cinemas and gyms will remain closed. Health authorities on Wednesday reported just 15 new cases of COVID-19 in Shanghai, down from a record high of around 20,000 daily cases in April. A few malls and markets have reopened, and some residents have been given passes allowing them out for a few hours at a time. The lockdown has prompted an exodus of Chinese and foreign residents, with crowds forming outside the city’s Hongqiao Railway Station, where only some train service had been resumed. Even while the rest of the world has opened up, China has stuck to “zero-COVID,” which requires lockdowns, mass testing and isolation at centralized facilities of anyone who is infected or has been in contact with someone who has tested positive. The country’s borders also remain largely closed and the government has upped requirements for the issuance of passports and permission to travel abroad.
Bangladesh has taken all precautions against new coronavirus variant, Omicron, Health Minister Zahid Maleque said on Sunday ruling out any further Covid-induced lockdown in the country “The Covid-19 situation in Bangladesh is under control now and there is no possibility to enforce any lockdown in the country,” he told reporters after visiting the under-construction Bangladesh Institute of Health Management Building (BIHM) in Savar. He said the government is keeping eye on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) decisions on the Omicron variant but above all the precautions and preparations people will need to follow the health protocols, he said. He, however, said that the government does not see any need for sealing the land border of the country as yet. Read:Don’t leave your workplaces: Health Minister to expats “Already letters have been sent to all the districts to take up preparations to prevent the spread of the Omicron variant, “he said. Zahid said there is no need to worry about the new coronavirus variant Omicron which has no presence in the country. “Any one coming from South Africa or other Omicron-affected countries will need to possess negative certificate from tests 48 hours before the flight and will need to stay in mandatory quarantine for 14 days, “he said. Screening at airports has been increased and the Covid-19 testing labs have been expanded up to 30,000 square feet from 2,000, he said. He said Bangladesh has now enough stock of vaccines and preparation to face any situation. “Already more than seven crore people have received the first dose while around four crore have been fully vaccinated,” he said. “Like many other countries, we got the prime minister’s nod to administer the booster dose of Covid-19 vaccines, and soon it will be provided to the above-60 citizens,” he said. We are keeping eye on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) decisions on the Omicron variant but above all the precautions and preparations people will need to be more health aware, said the health minister
Sramik Karmachari Oikya Parishad (SKOP), a platform of over a dozen labour rights bodies, on Monday demanded Covid risk allowance for export-oriented factory workers and punishment for the owners for negligence in ensuring health protocols in workplaces. In a statement, the SKOP leaders strongly criticised the decision for opening the factories, which is mostly apparel ones, in an alarming situation with high Covid-19 infection and death rates, without making transport arrangements for workers to return to their workstations and protection measures in workplaces amid the Covid lockdown. Following the sudden announcement that the export-oriented factories would be open on August 01, tens of thousands of workers had to face untold sufferings and count over three-four times transport cost in their ways back to the respective workstations due to the Covid-19 lockdown after the Eid vacation, they bemoaned. Also read: Vaccination campaign for garment workers begins in Gazipur It was not possible for the workers (who are mostly readymade garment (RGM) workers) to follow the health protocols on their ways back to the workstations, they said. The SKOP leaders said the lives of workers were undermined for the owners’ interests by opening the factories without Covid-19 test arrangements in every factory gate, and promises from the owners to keep corona infected workers in isolations under their management, bear the responsibility of medical treatment for them and provide compensation in case of death. They asked not to terminate if any worker falls sick due to coronavirus infection. Also read: Ensuring nutrition for apparel workers can boost 20% productivity: Study The SKOP leaders who made the statement include its two joint coordinators Shahidullah Chowdhury and Nur Kutub Mannan, Mesbah Uddin Ahmed, Shah Mohd Zafar, Anwar Hossain, Razequzzaman Ratan, Saifuzzaman Badsha, Kamrul Ahsan and Dr Wazedul Islam Khan, said a release.
Streets in capital Dhaka now look much quieter than normal after the government reenforced the nationwide lockdown following an eight-day break to protect people from the coronavirus transmission. The lockdown restrictions came into force at 8am today and will continue till August 5 midnight, unless extended again as announced by the government on Thursday, upping its guard against the devastating Delta variant of Covid-19. Today (Friday), the first day of the restarted lockdown, the number of vehicles seen in the capital was much lower than any other day during the last week. Also read: Strict lockdown from Friday, againEven then, many were seen in the morning returning to Dhaka through different ways as public transports were not operating following the fresh order. The government’s order for everyone was to stay in their respective areas as offices, courts, garment factories and all other export-oriented industries will remain closed during the period.Rab and army personnel, deployed to enforce the strict restrictions, were seen checking the movement of people and vehicles at different points of the capital in addition to the duties performed by the police.
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader has asked members of his party and allied bodies to stand by the helpless people during the strict lockdown due to be imposed on Thursday. Quader was speaking virtually at a function marking distributing Covid health and safety products to 30 boarder districts and upazilas. The distribution was organized by the party's relief and social welfare sub-committee at the Awami League president's political office in Dhanmondi this morning. Saying that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has successfully tackled the first wave of corona by balancing between life and livelihood, Quader called for everyone’s cooperate in implementing her practical and timely initiative to manage the ongoing second wave. Also read: Violation of lockdown rules to invite legal action, warns DMP Coroner infections are now at high risk, the Awami League general secretary said, adding that high-level infections have spread from border districts to the capital, spreading to rural areas. Quader said that it is necessary to take utmost measures for the safety of all. He said there is no alternative to fully mask up to ward off the infections. The slightest negligence towards hygiene can cause death. Mentioning that the Sheikh Hasina government has decided to impose strict restrictions from July 1 as per the advice of experts for the protection of the people, Quader called urged all to stay home for their own good. Also read: Govt outlines restriction rules ahead of ‘tough’ lockdown The Awami League leader said the prime minister always takes right decision in times of crisis and disaster. Quader also called upon all to have confidence in the steps being taken by the prime minister to deal with the situation. He said opposition BNP is merely spreading confusion among the people about government’s mass vaccination programme. Jahangir Kabir Nanak, the party’s presidium member, presided over the function. Organizing Secretary Mirza Azam, SM Kamal Hossain, Relief and Social Welfare Secretary Sujit Roy Nandi, Office Secretary Barrister Biplob Barua, Health Secretary Dr Rokeya and Human Resources Secretary Samsunnahar Champa, Central Executive Member Syed Abdul Awal Shamim and Relief Sub-Committee Member Dr. Hedayetul Islam Badal were also present.
The government has decided to enforce a seven-day toughest nationwide lockdown from Thursday (July 1) engaging the Armed Forces, BGB and Battalion Police in a bid to check the coronavirus transmission in the country. “There’ll be no pass for movement this time…. no one can go outside as they’ll have to stay indoors,” Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said this on Monday while briefing reporters at the Secretariat after the weekly Cabinet meeting. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina chaired the meeting held at the Cabinet room of the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban. The Cabinet Secretary said a notification will be issued on Tuesday to inform the government’s orders regarding the lockdown. Also read: Local admins can enforce lockdown, says Cabinet Secretary
A large number of homebound people were seen gathering at railway station and bus terminals as the government announced 7-day countrywide lockdown from Monday. Commuters fearing suspension of public transport crowding at the bus and launch terminals amid the risk of Coronavirus transmission. Excessive pressure transports was seen on the highway causing long tailbacks.
The government is set to impose a nationwide lockdown for a week from Monday morning as part of its tougher move to slow down the rapid spike in both coronavirus infection and mortality rates. The main objective of the lockdown is to control unnecessary public movements and gatherings with stronger monitoring by the members of law enforcement agencies and thus contain the virus transmission. It will be the first official lockdown in Bangladesh to tackle the deadly coronavirus. On March 26 last year, the government had declared general holidays along with a transport shutdown instead of enforcing lockdown as the country was witnessing the surge in coronavirus transmission. As the country has been experiencing record-breaking Covid cases for the past few days, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Sunday announced to impose a weeklong countrywide lockdown. Most offices and factories will remain open during the period, but the employees will work in shifts maintaining health safety rules and government guidelines. Also read: Restriction on gatherings, quarantine rule among PMO’s 18-point directive to contain Covid surge Earlier, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) issued an 18-point directive on March 29 to prevent the transmission of the virus. Restrictions on movement/activities The Cabinet Division on Sunday issued a gazette notification imposing restrictions on the movement of people and other activities for seven days in a bid to improve the situation and enforce the lockdown. The gazette will remain effective from 6 am on April 5 till 12 am on April 11. According to the gazette, all modes of public transport (road, river, rail and domestic flights) will remain suspended during the period.
The capital markets will follow the banking sector's lead in operation during the pandemic of Covid-19. This was informed by the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) against the backdrop of different rumors since news broke of the lockdown to be imposed by the government from Monday next. A notice posted on the official website of the BSEC said: "Capital market will continue operation at the interest of investors in any situation during the pandemic of Covid-19 if the banking activities continue." It said all transactions in the capital market will continue in the interest of investors. Also read: Govt to enforce 7-day lockdown from Monday: Quader It urged the investors to pay no heed to any sort of rumors. According to BSEC sources, if the bank is open in lockdown, the capital market will also be open. This instruction has been given to two stock exchanges (Dhaka and Chittagong). Also read: Covid-19: Bangladesh sees 5,638 cases, 58 more deaths They said, the commission has instructed DSE to keep the capital market open if banks are open. The capital market will operate utilising smaller shifts and work-from-home facilities. Earlier, from March 26 to May 31 last year, transactions in the capital market were closed due to the outbreak of coronavirus.
Bollywood actress Sunny Leone who left India along with her husband and three children during Covid lockdown in May, has hinted at a return to Mumbai from the US.