The government of Bangladesh has imposed a week-long, country-wide “lockdown” beginning from 5 April 2021 and ending at 11:59 PM on 11 April 2021. This was in response to the surge in the reported COVID-19 cases in recent months. In furtherance of the aim of bringing the rates of cases and deaths under control, the Cabinet Division has issued certain guidelines which are summarised as follows:
- There is a general prohibition on all forms of public transport from plying roads, thoroughfares, airways and waterways. However, transportation used for the purpose of law enforcement, emergency supply services, utilities and communications are exempted from this prohibition.
- Governmental, quasi-governmental offices, private institutions and factories may continue to function through limited on-site presence of workers. Such offices are to provide their staff with transportation to and from their places of work. Factories under the jurisdiction of the BGMEA and BKMEA are to establish field hospitals and treatment facilities for workers.
- There is a general prohibition against going outside of one’s home from 6:00 PM to 6:00 AM. Stepping outside of one’s home for the purchase of medicines and for obtaining of essential medical treatment and to avail funeral and burial services are exempted from this prohibition.
- Dining-in at restaurants and cafes is prohibited. Restaurants and cafes may continue to operate by processing online orders and takeaways.
- Shopping malls and businesses are to remain closed. Shops and businesses may continue to provide goods by processing online order and deliveries. All online orders and subsequent deliveries are to be conducted strictly adhering to the health and safety guidelines to prevent transmission of COVID-19 virus.
- Kitchen markets and department stores are to remain open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM.
- Banks and financial institutions are to operate with limited manpower present on-site and following the applicable directives issued by the Bangladesh Bank from time to time.
- Armed forces are to maintain field hospitals at designated sites.
- Local government personnel and the law enforcement agencies are to oversee compliance to directives and health guidelines by members of the public. Legal action shall be taken against anyone flouting these directives and the health and safety guidelines.
In light of these guidelines, the High Court Division of the Supreme Court of Bangladesh through a notification has announced that it will be working on a limited capacity for the period of the lockdown.
A single divisional bench will be constituted for the purpose of hearing cases pertaining to emergency writs, civil and criminal matters. Another divisional bench will be constituted for hearing of matters pertaining to Company Law and Admiralty matters.
The High Court Division announced that these matters will be heard through Information Technology enabled virtual courts.
All Lower and District Courts are to remain suspended for the duration of this week-long lockdown.
As always, we at M&C hope that you remain safe and adhere to the health and safety guidelines.