POST TIME: 25 March, 2020 01:29:54 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 25 March, 2020 03:42:46 PM
Water, railway, air transports halted
Suspension of public road transports begins tomorrow

Water, railway, air transports halted

People scared of deadly coronavirus stream into Sadarghat Launch Terminal in the capital yesterday in their desperate bid to leave Dhaka ahead of a 10-day office closure beginning tomorrow. Focus Bangla Photo

The government yesterday decided to shut down all modes of public transport, except emergency services, across the country to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The ministries concerned suspended all domestic flights, trains, and passenger launches. All public road transports will be suspended from tomorrow.

All passenger trains and launches, except cargo trains and vessels, have been suspended for an indefinite period.

“Passengers trains have been suspended and this suspension will remain in effect until further notice. But cargo and oil trains will run on a limited scale. The decision will be effective from this (Tuesday) evening,” Railway Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan told reporters during a press briefing yesterday.

He said some trains are on their way to Dhaka and will stop their services after returning to their respective ends.

No train will leave as per schedule after this evening, the minister added.

“In keeping with the government's decision to prevent the spread of coronavirus infection, the shipping ministry has suspended the movement of all passenger launches for an indefinite period until further notice. The suspension will be effective from today (Tuesday). Only a few cargo vessels, which are used to carry essential items, will be allowed to ply,” State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury told this correspondent.

“We’ll allow only a few ferries to ply on the river to transport ambulance, army convoy, and other emergency services,” he said in reply to a query. The state minister said the holidays have been given to people not for celebrating any festival. Everyone should stay at home to prevent transmission of the coronavirus, he added.

“Many people are rushing to their nearby train, bus, and launch terminals to leave the capital for their village homes. But the government has shut down all offices and educational institutions to check the spread of the coronavirus. So, people won’t be allowed to leave their residence for the greater interest of the country and their own safety,” he said. It is not possible for the government alone to tackle the coronavirus situation. Everyone should cooperate with the administration to contain the virus, noted the state minister. “If we deal with this situation collectively, we’ll win the battle against the coronavirus risk, Inshallah,” he said.

Also yesterday, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said that all modes of public transport will be suspended from March 26. However, trucks and covered vans carrying medicines, providers of emergency services, and perishable goods will remain outside this restriction. The minister told this to reporters through a video message. All domestic flights will be suspended from midnight (12:01am) today, Mohibul Haque, senior secretary of the civil aviation and tourism ministry, told reporters.

Earlier, Biman Bangladesh Airlines had suspended its operations on 15 out of 17 international routes. The national carrier is only operating on two international routes at present —Manchester and London.