Bangladesh has deployed troops to enforce a strict lockdown imposed amid a deadly resurgence of coronavirus infections across the country.
The week-long shutdown is a response to what the government said was an “alarming” rise in Covid-19 cases, with the country’s virus positivity rate exceeding 25 percent on Wednesday and after a nearly fourfold rise in single-day deaths since the beginning of the month.
Under lockdown rules, people are confined to their homes except for emergencies, to buy essentials, or for vaccination.
Markets and roadside stalls are closed. Makeshift mobile courts will hand out on the spot sentences to those violating the restrictions.
“Seventy-six units of our team are patrolling today in different streets of the capital, they will perform duties from dawn to dusk,” said Lt. Col. Abdullah Bin Jayed, director of the military’s media wing.
“District administrations around the country were given magistracy power to conduct patrolling and enforce the lockdown. Our members are ready to perform anywhere as asked by the civil administration.”
In Dhaka, dozens of people were arrested on the first day of restrictions, police said. Dhaka Metropolitan Police commissioner, Mohammad Shafiqul Islam, told reporters that police were ready to “arrest 5,000 people or more a day, if needed.”
While authorities are using the lockdown to curb the surge, which has been blamed mainly on the highly contagious delta variant first reported in neighboring India, health experts said a week of restrictions may be insufficient, reports Arab News.