EFEDhaka

At least five people died in a stampede as thousands of people returned to their native villages from the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka and other cities for Eid-ul-Fitr, the biggest Muslim festival, defying Covid-19 restrictions.

The incident occurred in Banglabazar area in central Madaripur district as people crammed into ferries to cross the Padma river, Mohammad Amir Hossain of Shibchar police station in the same district told EFE confirming the deaths.

Despite restrictions on movement between districts due to Covid-19, the authorities were forced to resume regular ferry services on Monday due to pressure from the public seeking to return home for the festivities.

On Apr.3, the government had announced a nationwide lockdown in response to rising number of coronavirus cases and deaths. The restrictions were extended in phases until May 16.

Industries and factories, banks and stock markets, however, were allowed to operate under certain necessary health guidelines.

The authorities have struggled to implement the lockdown measures in several parts of the country, while shops remained open until 9pm, domestic flights continued to operate along most routes and public transport in cities was unaffected.