Dhaka struggles to enforce lockdown
Law enforcers scrambled to impose Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in Dhaka yesterday, as the capital witnessed some rush-hour traffic in the morning.
Although public transport vehicles stayed off the capital roads, police and armed forces personnel were seen flagging down several private cars and people they thought had stepped out for frivolous reasons on the 13th day of the countrywide strict lockdown, aimed at reducing the Covid-19 contagion risk, reports UNB.
Police imposed fines on commuters who failed to produce proper documents in support of their "emergency travel", while those with valid papers were allowed to go. Many without supporting documents bridled at such restrictions, resulting in heated exchange of words with cops.
Rapid Action Battalion and army personnel patrolling the streets of Dhaka, alongside local police, set up check-posts in different areas of the city.
At some places, traffic congestion was seen between 8:30am and 11:30am.
Traffic inspector Akther Hossain, stationed near Uttara's Rajlaxmi Complex, said, "The pressure of private vehicles is higher than that of Tuesday, but we are only allowing those with valid reasons to travel."
"Cases are also being filed against violators. Mobile courts are slapping fines on lockdown violators," he said.
People's movement has significantly risen, as export-oriented industries have started operations, the inspector said.
"Ambulances and people going out for taking Covid jabs are being allowed to travel," Akther said.
The nationwide lockdown, first imposed for 14-days until August 5, has now been extended for another five days till August 10, amid a surge in the Delta variant of Covid-19 infections across the country.
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque announced the government decision to reporters, after an inter-ministerial meeting on Tuesday.
He said shops, factories and offices would be allowed to reopen from August 11, "while public transport can ply roads on a limited scale once the lockdown is over".
Amid the merciless onslaught of Covid-19 in Bangladesh, the country recorded 241 more deaths linked to the virus yesterday.
According to Directorate General of Health Services, 13,817 more people were Covid-19 positive till yesterday morning, after testing 49,514 samples.
The fresh numbers pushed the country's death tally to 21,638, with the caseload mounting to 13,09,910.
Meanwhile, the daily test positivity rate fell to 27.91 percent from Tuesday's 28.58 percent, while the World Health Organization recommends a five percent or below rate.
The country has been seeing over 14,300 cases and 230 deaths every day on an average for the last seven days.