DHAKA - Bangladesh lifted its coro­navirus lockdown Sunday, with millions heading back to work in densely populated cities and towns even as the country logged a record spike in deaths and new infections.

"The lockdown has been lifted and we are heading almost towards our regu­lar life," health department spokeswoman Nasima Sul­tana said, calling on those returning to work to wear masks and observe social distancing.

The lifting comes as Bangla­desh -- which on Friday took an emergency pandemic loan from the International Mone­tary Fund -- reported its big­gest daily jump in infections Sunday, with 2,545 new cases and a record 40 deaths.

In the crowded capital Dhaka, passengers piled into trains and traffic clogged up the streets as workers re­turned to their jobs after months of restrictions that have battered the economy.

Some wore gloves and masks as they headed to their offices, while others stood the recommended two feet apart as long queues formed outside bank branches.

At a ferry station in Barisal, south of the capital, there was a crush of passengers as peo­ple rushed to board vessels.

"I tried to avoid crowds when I walked to my office. But social distancing is im­possible in Dhaka's foot­paths," banker Badrul Islam told AFP.Restrictions to curb the virus imposed on March 26 have been gradually eased in recent weeks, with only ed­ucational institutions remain­ing closed.The country of 168 million has reported 47,151 infections and 650 deaths, although experts warn Ban­gladesh is not conducting enough testing and the actu­al toll is likely much higher.

Some day labourers, who were badly hit by the lock­down, welcomed the deci­sion."I hardly had three good meals in the past two months as I was jobless," 58-year-old labourer Tota Miah told AFP.