Almost as if there is no lockdown
Amid the rising number of Covid-19 infections and deaths, the nationwide "strict lockdown" seems to be loosening up as public and vehicular movement on the streets of Dhaka and elsewhere continues to increase with each passing day.
The country has been witnessing nearly 200 deaths a day for the past two weeks. However, the city streets remain crowded with people and vehicles while many continue to ignore health protocols.
The seventh day of the 14-day "strict lockdown" was no different.
Despite bad weather yesterday, many were seen wandering without any valid reason. Besides, number of private vehicles increased significantly on the street as many private offices arranged transport for their staff.
Only movement of public transport remained suspended, as per government restrictions.
In the morning, office-goers were seen travelling by rickshaws, motorbikes and private cars. Many were seen walking long distances.
Shamsuddin Anwar, a private service holder, who commuted to his office from Mohammadpur to Motijheel yesterday, said he didn't see this many private cars in the last six days.
A traffic inspector, stationed in Bijoy Sarani area, said the number of vehicles on the streets have been on the rise since Sunday as banks and other emergency services reopened after Eid.
"We are checking vehicles randomly. Those who failed to show any valid reason for stepping out of home are being fined. We are also lodging cases against many for violating lockdown rules," he said.
Police, Rapid Action Battalion, Border Guard Bangladesh and army personnel were seen checking vehicles by setting up check-posts at major city points. But there was also lax monitoring at some check-posts.
Meanwhile, police in Dhaka yesterday detained 568 individuals for being outdoors without any valid reason while mobile courts fined 206 individuals and shops Tk 3.40 lakh.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police's traffic division fined 431 motorists Tk 9.97 lakh.
Despite restrictions, hundreds of holidaymakers and service-holders, who had gone to their village homes, continued to enter the capital through different entry points and by changing different modes of transport.
They were seen entering Dhaka, with luggage, through entry points at Gabtoli, Tongi, Shanirakhra and Jatrabari. Some took detours and even walked to their destinations while many had to face police questioning.
Meanwhile, hundreds travelled across the Padma river on ferries running on Daulatdia-Paturia and Bangla Bazar-Shimulia routes despite the gloomy weather.
Due to bad weather, ferry services at Bangla Bazar-Shimulia route was halted for three hours from noon. At least 600 vehicles were waiting at that time to cross the Padma.
Out of the 19 ferries, seven were operating on the route.
At Shimulia terminal, a private car with a fake sticker of a government office, was fined Tk 10,000. Three of its passengers, who were trying to cross the river on a ferry, were sent back.
At Bangla Bazar, Dhaka-bound passengers were seen thronging the ferries despite suspension on travelling. None paid any heed to health safety protocols, reported our Munshiganj correspondent.
A similar situation was also seen at the ferries on Daulatdia-Paturia route where six out of 18 ferries operated.