Bangladesh closes land borders with India amid spike in COVID-19 cases

Dhaka: Bangladesh will close its land borders with India for the next 14 days due to the unprecedented surge of coronavirus cases in the neighbouring nation, Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen announced here on Sunday.

India logged a record of 3,49,691 new coronavirus infections in a day on Sunday, taking its total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,69,60,172. The death toll increased to 1,92,311 with a record 2,767 daily new fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data.

Passenger travel from India to Bangladesh via land will remain closed from Monday for 14 days, Momen told reporters here.

"The decision was taken in view of the rapid increase of coronavirus cases in India...We are closing the land routes for passengers for the time being," he said.

The minister, however, said the trade between the two countries would continue.

There would be no ban on the movement of cargo vehicles, Momen said.

Air travel between India and Bangladesh has already been suspended since April 14 with the rise in infections.

Home Minister Asaduzzamman Khan Kamal also said that the authorities have decided to close the borders with India for two weeks.

"The land routes with India will be shut from April 26," he said.

Bangladesh's National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on COVID-19 had earlier suggested border closure with India in view of the surging number of coronavirus cases. It had also suggested that the land routes should not reopen until there is an improvement in the coronavirus situation in India.

Bangladesh and India share land borders in West Bengal and the northeastern states of Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and Meghalaya.

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