12th Day of Lockdown: All but public transport crowd streets of Dhaka
On 12th day of the "strict lockdown", the streets of Dhaka was found loaded with vehicles, bringing back its chaotic days. Everything except public transports were plying city streets and people wandering around with little or no regard to the health guidelines.
The government, meanwhile, extended the current lockdown till August 10 amid a surge in Covid-19 across the country.
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque disclosed the decision while talking to reporters after an inter-ministerial meeting yesterday.
He said shops, factories and offices will be reopened from August 11 while public transport will be allowed to ply roads on a limited scale once the lockdown is over.
Visiting at different parts of the capital, including Shahbagh, Uttara, Mohakhali, Mirpur, Kalabagan, Biijoy Srani, Badda, Farmgate, Shyamoli, Karwan Bazar and Bangla Motor, correspondents of the news agency saw the capital almost returning to normal, with an increased number of vehicles and people on the streets.
Usual traffic jams were also seen at most places during office hours from 8:30am to 11am.
Traffic Inspector Asaduzzaman (Mohakhali), said, "Apart from the absence of local buses, I couldn't differentiate today's Dhaka with pre-lockdown days in the morning."
However, law enforcers were seen vigilant on the streets, as many pedestrians and commuters were detained or fined for wandering without any reason or not abiding by health guidelines.
Visiting Gabtoli, Syedabad, Tongi, Babu Bazar Bridge, Demra Bridge, Ashulia Bridge and other entry points, a large number of people were seen trying to enter the capital by ambulances in the guise of patients, and eventually getting caught at police check-posts. They were either detained or fined over the matter.
Traffic Inspector Ziaul Haque of Demra Zone said," We expected the rush of people at these entry points to start declining from today, and were proven wrong. The number of people entering Dhaka was similar to that of the past few days, if not more," he said.
"We're keeping an open mind if people trying to enter have valid reasons, and taking actions otherwise," Zia added.
Reimposed at 8am on July 23, the second round of strict lockdown was supposed to be in force till August 5.
The government on Friday allowed industry owners to reopen all export-oriented factories from August 1 with the lockdown in place.
The scale of Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh looks to be overwhelming, as the country added 235 fatalities to its national tally yesterday, reporting over 200 single-day fatalities for the last 10 days.