by Staff Correspondent in Dhaka;
Bangladesh has shut land border with India after its neighbour registered the record number of Covid-19 cases in the last couple of days, officials said in Dhaka on Monday.
The ban came into force from Monday.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said the ban, which excludes transportation of goods, will last for two weeks. The decision, he said, was taken in line with an expert committee suggestion to curb the spike in the virus.
“We will reopen the border in future,” Momen said, adding that moving of cargo will continue during this shutdown.
Air travel between the two countries remained suspended after Bangladesh on April 14 suspended all international passenger flights as part of a nationwide lockdown to check the virus.
A foreign ministry handout said Bangladeshi nationals stranded in India can return home through three specific land ports – Benapole, Akhaura and Burimari – provided that they get permission from Bangladeshi missions in India.
They must also produce Covid-19 negative certificate as per a test conducted 72 hours before their entry.
They must follow a mandatory quarantine for two weeks.
Vehicles carrying imported goods from India would have to be properly sterilized before entering Bangladesh borders while the concerned drivers and helpers would have to observe the Covid-19 safety protocol strictly, the inter-ministerial meeting decided.
Railroads would be encouraged for export and import of goods between the two countries in this period, said a foreign ministry statement.
“The decisions would be in effect for two weeks and would be revised in due time,” the foreign ministry said.
Indian High Commission said that they have been assured from the foreign ministry that consideration would be given to assist all Indian nationals in Bangladesh, who need to enter India.
A country of 1.36 billion people, India has reported more than 16 million coronavirus infections and 192,311 deaths related to Covid-19 since it discovered the first case in January last year.
India has been reporting steadily higher numbers of daily cases and deaths since the start of a second wave in March, with Monday marking the highest single day of infections of 352994 as well as a record 2,842 deaths, according to the Indian Health Ministry.
Neighbouring Bangladesh has so far reported 745,322 cases with 11,053 deaths since March last year.
The country imposed a more than three-week nationwide lockdown, shutting offices, shopping malls and transportation until Wednesday. The shopping malls, however, were reopened on a limited scale on Sunday.