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Bangladesh seals border with India to check Covid-19 spread

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Bangladesh has decided to close its border with India for the next 14 days to control the spread of the deadly virus.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal told Dhaka Tribune on Sunday a ban on entry from India has been imposed in line with the instructions of the prime minister's office.

However, trade through the borders will continue.

“The movement of cargo will continue," Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told the UNB.

India is going through a harrowing second wave of Covid-19. Lack of hospitals, oxygen cylinders and healthcare has brought the nation to its knees.

So, to limit Covid-19 transmission from the neighbouring country Bangladesh has decided to close off the land borders, that was open on a limited scale till now.

In a media release the Foreign Ministry said that travelling through land borders will remain temporarily suspended from 6am on Monday to 6pm May 9.

Following decisions have been taken in an inter-ministerial meeting chaired by the foreign secretary (senior secretary) and attended by high commissioner of Bangladesh to India, secretary of the Security Services Division of the Ministry of Home Affairs, secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, additional secretary of the Cabinet Division; and representatives of PMO, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Commerce, BGB and Bangladesh Missions in Kolkata and Agartala.

The Bangladeshi citizens currently traveling to India for treatment and having visas with validity for less than 15 days could enter Bangladesh through only Benapole, Akhaura and Burimari after taking permission from Bangladesh Missions in New Delhi, Kolkata, and Agartala.

They also must have a Covid-19 negative certificate done through PCR test within 72 hours of entry.

People entering Bangladesh through this process would have to stay officially quarantined for two weeks, read the press release.

The vehicles carrying imported goods from India would have to be properly sterilized before entering Bangladesh.

The concerned drivers and helpers would have to observe Covid-19 safety protocol strictly.

Railroads would be encouraged for export and import of goods between the two countries in this period.

Bangladesh Missions in New Delhi, Kolkata and Agartala would convey the relevant information in this regard to the concerned authorities in India in light of the friendly relations between the two countries.

The above decisions would be in effect for two weeks and would be revised in due time.

India's number of cases surged by 349,691 in the past 24 hours, the fourth straight day of record peaks, and hospitals in Delhi and across the country are turning away patients after running out of medical oxygen and beds.

Hospitals and doctors have put out urgent notices that they were unable to cope with the rush of patients.

People were arranging stretchers and oxygen cylinders outside hospitals as they desperately pleaded for authorities to take patients in, Reuters photographers said.