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Bangladesh’s contradictory COVID-19 restriction deadline partially renewed amidst horrific rise in cases

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Bangladesh’s contradictory COVID-19 restriction deadline partially renewed amidst horrific rise in cases

Kabir Tuhin AP
Photo: Kabir Tuhin/AP

Bangladesh’s COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and public transportation were set to lapse today, but have been extended to August 10.

With over 200 deaths per day and tens of thousands of new cases in the past two weeks, Bangladesh is currently facing its deadliest battle with the pandemic yet. However, as nationwide infections have surged, the global economic recovery has endured, causing a sharp rise in the demand for readymade garments (RMGs) in Western markets. RMGs make up 81% of Bangladesh’s exports and 20% of its GDP, so, hoping to revitalize its economy, Bangladesh’s RMG factories have been given exclusive permission to reopen.

Expect the restrictions to be re-extended after August 10 as COVID-19 cases surge within the RMG industry, though the industry’s exemptions will not end. This is due to the nature of Dhaka’s restrictions, which mandate that businesses only reopen on August 10 granted their employees are fully vaccinated. Only 2.7% of the nation has been fully vaccinated thus far. As a result, it is likely laborers will rush to join the RMG industry, as it’s exempt from restrictions. This will reduce the price of Bangladesh’s RMGs in international markets, benefiting Dhaka’s economy, but at a gruesome cost.

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