Bangladesh shuts border with India for 14-day passenger movement: FM

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Dailynewsun Desk:

Bangladesh will shut its border with India for passenger travel from tomorrow for next 14 days as the neighbouring country has been hit by severe surge of COVID-19 virus.

“It has been decided in an inter-ministerial meeting that our border will shut down for time being with India for passengers only, not for cargo,” foreign minister Dr A K Abdul Momen told media this evening, reports BSS.

He said the ban will be initially imposing for next 14 days from tomorrow due to sharp spike of coronavirus spread in India.

“We will reopen it in future,” Momen said, adding that moving of cargo will continue during this shutdown.

As per the Bangladesh government’s decision, all passenger flights between India and Bangladesh have been suspended since April 14 while the land ports between the two neighbouring countries remain open for passengers’ travel.

Today’s decision was taken at an inter-ministerial meeting chaired by Foreign Secretary Masud bin Momen.

Later, a foreign ministry statement, elaborating the meeting’s decision, said, general movements of humans between Bangladesh and India will temporarily stay suspended through the land ports from 6am of April 26 to 6pm of May 9.

However, it said, as exception, only 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.

During crossing the Bangladesh border through the above-mentioned land ports, they must show a mandatory Covid-negative certificate done through PCR test within 72 hours of entry, it said, adding that they must stay officially quarantined for two weeks after entering the country.

“Except for the aforementioned three land ports, all kinds of human movements through all other land ports between the two countries would completely stay suspended for two weeks,” said the statement.

The vehicles carrying imported goods from India would have to be properly sterilized before entering Bangladesh borders while the concerned drivers and helpers would have to observe the Covid-19 safety protocol strictly, the inter-ministerial meeting decided.

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

Bangladesh Missions in New Delhi, Kolkata and Agartala would 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 above decisions would be in effect for two weeks and would be revised in due time,” the foreign ministry said.

Bangladesh high commissioner to India, security services division secretary of home ministry, Secretary (East) of foreign ministry, additional secretary of cabinet division, representatives of PMO, foreign, home, health and commerce ministry, BGB and Bangladesh missions in Kolkata and Agartala attended the inter-ministerial meeting.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson of Indian High Commission here said tonight that they have been assured from the foreign ministry that consideration would be given to assist all Indian nationals in Bangladesh, who need to enter India.

Those Indians who need to travel home to India may send tentative travel plans by email to the High Commission at cons1.dhaka@mea.gov.in and cons.dhaka@mea.gov.in, he added.