Bangladesh extends border closure with India in view of Covid-19 situation
Bangladesh extended the duration for which its borders with India will remain closed in view of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) situation in both countries, reported news agency ANI on Monday, citing Bangladeshi media. The development comes even as Covid-19 cases in the neighbouring districts of the border areas continue to gradually deter. Bangladesh had shut its borders with India earlier in April, and the border closure was extended twice -- on May 8 and then on May 29 -- in view of the lethal, more infectious second of the coronavirus disease pandemic.
Bangladesh decided to extend border closure with India at a high-level inter-ministerial meeting on June 13, the country's ministry of foreign affairs reportedly told Dhaka Tribute. The decision was taken amid a backdrop of a rising number of Covid-19 cases in Bangladesh. The country reported its highest single-day spike in the death toll in over a month on Sunday with 47 new fatalities, as authorities take note of the alarming rise in cases. It has also been reported that the Delta variant of the coronavirus disease, which is highly contagious, is more prevalent in Bangladesh.
Although borders with India are currently closed, Bangladeshi nationals who have a valid visa of 15 days or less will be allowed to return home to their country, albeit on the condition of a mandatory 14-day Covid-19 necessitated quarantine.
Last month, Bangladesh foreign minister AK Abdul Momen had called the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) situation in the country a "crisis" and had mounted a diplomatic campaign to acquire Covid-19 vaccines from the US, China, Canada, Russia, and the UK, in addition to India. He had also expressed fears over people carrying the virus into the country, noting that although Bangladesh closed its borders with India on April 26, scores of Bangladeshis who returned from India through Benapole land port may have carried the more infectious strain of the coronavirus.
(With inputs from agencies)