Md Esaraf Hossain
Social distancing rules are still being ignored everywhere, including roads, kitchen markets and shopping malls, in the capital and its outskirts amid the fast spread of coronavirus.
Defying the shutdown as well as the coronavirus pandemic, streams of both the Dhaka-bound and homebound people are now seen on streets and ferry ghats.Both the ferry ghats ‘Shimulia-Kathalbari‘ in Munshiganj and ‘Daulatdia-Paturia‘ in Manikganj witnessed huge crowds on Sunday morning.
With huge rush of vehicles, long tailbacks were also created in the ferry ghats. Besides the ferry, people were seen crossing the river Padma by engine-trawlers.
A huge number of people, mostly women and children, are leaving the capital for their ancestral homes to celebrate the Eid-ul-Fitr festival.
Simultaneously, same rush of Dhaka-bound people was seen on different roads and highways.
People are travelling by various goods-carrying trucks, private cars, microbuses and other small vehicles due to restrictions on movement of passenger buses, risking their lives.
Ferry ghat sources said as the Eid day is drawing nearer, a large number of people are thronging the ferry ghats for crossing the river.A huge number of people are going to their village homes while many others are also seen returning to Dhaka.
BIWTC‘s Kathalbari ghat manager Abdul Alim said they have increased the ferry service due to the pressure of vehicles as well as passengers. A total of 14 ferries are now operating on this ghat, he added.
In the capital, people are breaking such social distance and health guidelines everywhere, including streets, shopping malls, kitchen markets, banks and other business establishments, increasing the risk of further coronavirus spread.
Only a limited number of shopping malls and markets opened in the capital recently. But the sellers and buyers hardly maintain social distancing rules and health guidelines.
People were also seen gathering in front of the shops without maintaining the required distance of 1 metre or so thought to be safe for preventing transmission of Covid-19.
While visiting some shopping malls, including Rajdhani Super Market, Islampur Market, Chawkbazar, Keraniganj, Ayesha Market, Dhanmondi’s Rapa Plaza, New Super Market and shops at Elephant road in the capital on Sunday, this correspondent found that most of the buyers were not maintaining social distancing.
With the opening of RMG factories, shops and eateries despite no observable downward trend in Covid-19 cases in the country, increasingly large numbers of people have been seen getting out of the lockdown situation for the last few days, casually flouting social distancing guidelines and posing serious risk of a rapid spike in the number of infections.
The number of people and vehicles moving the city streets increased on Sunday.
Even traffic jams were back in some areas, including Motijheel, Rampura, Badda and Mirpur areas.
People flocked to the streets, markets, shopping malls and tea-stalls as soon as the patrolling law enforcers are virtually playing their role as witnesses without taking any measure against the lockdown breakers.
Imposition of total lockdown in many of the affected areas in the capital has also been lax as people were seen roaming around those areas and many shops also remained open exposing people to further risk of infections.
Police said they were trying to enforce the lockdown regulations, but people often ignored their request and instructions.
Law enforcers, however, complained that unnecessary gatherings and public movements in the morning in alleyways and in the kitchen markets were cause for concerns.
Meanwhile, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) on Sunday said police will strictly control the traffic movement, without any emergency, in Dhaka city by placing check posts on the entry and exit points to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.