Banks in Dhaka have seen a swirl of customers, a day before the new virus lockdown begins nationwide.
Just after the services opened at 10 am Tuesday, most banks struggled with a long queue of clients. The queue lengthened as the day rolled.
Employees of the banks were hard-pressed to provide services due to the strict health protocols ordered by the government and the central bank, reports bdnews24.com.
The government imposed a new total lockdown beginning on Wednesday to limit the spread of the coronavirus. While Bangladesh Bank ordered the banks to remain closed from Apr 14 to 21, it ordered them to keep their ATM and online services open during the lockdown.
Bangladesh is expected to observe the month of Ramadan from Wednesday depending on the sighting of the moon on Tuesday. Banks will remain open until 3 pm Tuesday, the last working day before the lockdown.
A long queue of clients was seen at the Mogbazar branch of Sonali Bank. One client stood in the queue for almost an hour.
More than 50 people were found queuing outside the New Eskaton branch of Prime Bank. A similar scene was evident at the Sat Masjid Road branch of Pubali Bank. Islami Bank Mogbazar branch had a long queue too.
It is taking more time to let their clients enter the banks as they need to follow the health protocols, said bankers. That lengthens the waiting time.
Many bankers were unaware of the Bangladesh Bank circular ordering the banks to remain open until 3 pm on Tuesday.
Confusions about banking hours abound. An official at the New Eskaton branch of Standard Bank said the transactions will continue until 1 pm. In BRAC Bank, one official said the same, while his colleague corrected him.
The government lay down different rules from Apr 5 in a bid to prevent the coronavirus infection from spreading.