Before the COVID lockdown, Bangladeshi workers are traveling home

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The word of a lockdown causes a massive migration of migrant laborers from Dhaka to their home towns.

Thousands of people are stranded in Bangladesh capital after the authorities halted almost all public transport before a sweeping weeklong lockdown, imposed to combat a deadly resurgence of COVID-19 infections, begins on Thursday.

The country has reported pandemic highs of more than 8,300 fresh infections on Monday and 119 deaths on Sunday.

It has a total caseload of nearly 900,000 and just more than 14,000 COVID-19 deaths. But experts say the actual numbers could be much higher due to possible underreporting.

Officials blame the recent spike on the highly contagious Delta variant first identified in neighbouring India.

The majority of the South Asian nation’s 168 million population will be confined to their homes by Thursday as part of the restrictions, with only essential services and some export-facing factories allowed to operate.

Khandker Anwarul Islam, the government’s cabinet secretary, said troops would be deployed starting Thursday to help enforce the lockdown.

“Armed forces will be patrolling. He informed reporters late Monday that if anyone disobeys his commands, legal action will be taken against them.

On Sunday, the announcement of the lockdown prompted a mass exodus of migrant laborers from Dhaka to their home areas, with tens of thousands packing into ferries to cross a large river.

Thousands of workers in Dhaka were forced to trek to their offices on Monday, sometimes for hours, due to the staggered implementation of the lockdown restrictions.

In mid-April, restrictions on activity and movement were implemented across Bangladesh as cases and deaths reached their worst levels since the pandemic began.

Infections fell in May but began to climb again this month, prompting the South Asian country to tighten its limits.

The rapid spread of the Delta variety, which has already been confirmed by the WHO to have reached at least 85 nations, has frightened health experts throughout the world.

According to a recent study by the independent Dhaka-based International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, more than two-thirds of new COVID-19 cases in Bangladesh’s capital were of the Delta form.

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In Munshiganj, a mob forms to board a ferry. As a result of the limitations, the majority of the 168 million people in the South Asian nation will be confined to their homes by Thursday. [AFP/Munir Uz Zaman]
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In Munshiganj, people walk with their things before boarding a ship. More than two-thirds of the new virus cases in Bangladesh’s capital were of the Delta strain, which was initially discovered in India. [AFP/Munir Uz Zaman]
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Bicycle rickshaws were allowed to operate late Sunday as a last-minute government concession, but commuters reported rates had risen to exorbitant levels. [AFP/Munir Uz Zaman]
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Munshiganj residents board a ferry. In mid-April, restrictions on activity and movement were implemented across Bangladesh as cases and deaths reached their worst levels since the pandemic began. [AFP/Munir Uz Zaman]
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The announcement of the lockdown prompted a mass departure of migrant laborers from Bangladesh’s metropolis, Dhaka. [AFP/Munir Uz Zaman]
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During the shutdown, only vital services and a few export-oriented factories will be allowed to operate. [AFP/Munir Uz Zaman]
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After Bangladesh’s authorities announced a new curfew, migrants seek transportation to return to their homes. [AFP/Munir Uz Zaman]
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Migrants and others return to their own countries. Nearly 900,000 infections and more than 14,000 fatalities have been documented in the country, but experts believe the true toll could be significantly higher owing to underreporting. [AFP/Munir Uz Zaman]
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