Bangladesh soldiers set to patrol streets as national Covid lockdown looms

Majority of country’s 168 million people will be confined to their homes by Thursday, with authorities readying military to enforce strict measures

Bangladesh authorities are preparing to enforce a sweeping national lockdown to combat a deadly resurgence of Covid-19 infections, with public transport networks closing and soldiers ready to patrol the streets.

Thousands of people were stranded in the capital, Dhaka, as authorities halted almost all public transport, leaving commuters to walk, sometimes for hours, in the sweltering summer heat.

The government’s cabinet secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam said troops would be deployed from Thursday to help enforce the lockdown. “The armed forces will be on patrol. If anyone ignores their orders, legal action will be available to them,” he told reporters late Monday.

Most of the South Asian nation’s 168 million population will be confined to their homes by Thursday as part of the restrictions, with only essential services and some export-facing factories allowed to operate.