Passenger travel from India via land to close from tomorrow for 14 days: Momen
Passenger travel from India to Bangladesh via land will remain closed from tomorrow for 14 days, amid severe surge in Covid-19 infections in the neighbouring county, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said today.
"We are closing it for the passengers for the time being, but trade will continue," he told The Daily Star.
Air travel between India and Bangladesh has been suspended since April 14 with the rise in infections.
Experts have been suggesting closure of land border with India to contain the spread of a new and potentially more transmissible variant of the virus.
In a meeting last Tuesday, the National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19 also recommended that the borders should not reopen until the situation in India improves.
The new variant, which has a so-called double mutation, is reported to be fuelling India's second wave of coronavirus cases that has made it the world's second worst Covid-hit country, surpassing Brazil, after the US.
India has reported more than 15 million Covid-19 cases so far and more than 175,600 fatalities.
The new variant, called B.1.617, was initially detected in India with two mutations -- the E484Q and L452R. It was first reported late last year by a scientist in India and more details were presented before the WHO recently.
DETAILS OF TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS
From 6:00am of April 26 to 6:00pm of May 9, general movement of people between Bangladesh and India will be suspended through land ports.
The Bangladeshi citizens currently traveling to India for treatment with visas valid for less than 15 days can reenter Bangladesh through only Benapole, Akhaura and Burimari after taking permission from Bangladesh Missions in New Delhi, Kolkata, and Agartala and with a mandatory Covid-19 negative certificate done through PCR test within seventy-two hours of entry.
People entering Bangladesh through this process will have to stay in official quarantine for two weeks. Except for the aforementioned three land ports, all kinds of movements through all other land ports between the two countries will completely stay suspended for two weeks.
The decisions were taken in an inter-ministerial meeting chaired by Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen. Top officials form the PMO, home ministry, cabinet division, health, commerce, BGB and Bangladesh missions in India were present, said foreign ministry in a statement.
The vehicles carrying imported goods from India will have to be properly sterilised before entering Bangladesh borders. The concerned drivers and helpers will have to observe the Covid-19 safety protocol strictly.
The use of rail routes will be encouraged for export and import of goods between the two countries in this period.
Bangladesh Missions in New Delhi, Kolkata and Agartala will convey the relevant information in this regard to the concerned authorities in India in the light of the friendly relations between the two countries.
The decisions will be revised in due time.