Tourist destinations reopen in Bangladesh

Clubs, community centres, resorts as well as recreational facilities across Bangladesh have reopened to tourists, after having remained closed for months since last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Bangladeshi government on August 12 decided to allow tourist destinations to reopen at half of their capacities from August 19, asking everyone to follow the health guidelines, reports Xinhua news agency.

Bangladesh’s Cabinet Division made the announcement on tHursday, directing relevant authorities to ensure compliance with the government-issued health safety protocols, including wearing masks outdoors.

The announcement came after Tour Operators Association of Bangladesh (TOAB) demanded reopening of tourist spots to save millions involved in the sector.

Md Rafeuzzaman, the TOAB president, recently said that the sector had to incur a loss of around 200 billion taka ($2 billion) due to the pandemic.

He said the health crisis has created untold suffering to some four million people involved in the country’s tourism industry.

The resurgence in Covid-19 cases since June prompted the government to enforce the latest lockdown that began on July 1 and continued till July 14.

Bangladesh re-imposed the lockdown from July 23 to August 10 in phases after relaxing restrictions for a week on the occasion of Eid al-Adha.

Instead of imposing a lockdown again, Bangladesh has since last month strengthened Covid-19 vaccination drive in capital Dhaka and elsewhere in the country.

Health Minister Zahid Maleque said the government is in need for 260 million doses of vaccine to inoculate 80 per cent of the population.

Bangladesh reported 6,566 new Covid-19 cases and 159 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the overall infection tally to 14,47,210 and fatalities to 24,878, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said.

Bangladesh recorded the highest daily new cases of 16,230 on July 28 and the highest number of deaths of 264 twice on August 5 and 10.