Commoners, foreign returnees not obeying social distancing

Despite countrywide army deployment to ensure social distancing, common people and foreign returnees are unnecessarily roaming here and there not obeying socail distancing rules, according to our correspondents. According to the local correspondents, hundreds of returnees from abroad are staying with their relatives hiding information and also taking part in various social events.

The Inspector General of Police directed the field-level police members to identify the locations of the expatriates who have come back home. However, it is alleged that in most cases police cannot find them as their current address and the address mentioned in the passport are not same.

According to our local correspondents, many people have been seen returning to village homes in trucks and pickup vans as the ferry service is on. Therefore, experts have emphasized for the implementation of the government guidelines completely. It was found traveling various places in the capital that nobody was maintaining at least three feet distancing, to be safe from the risk of coronavirus.

A rickshaw puller Kajol at Gulistan area said, “Today I have earned only 70 Taka. If I don’t pull the paddle of rickshaw my three children will starve. Last two days were really bad. Police don’t allow us to carry more than one passenger.” Another Rickshaw puller Shawpon said, “Who will feed us? There is no passenger on the streets. I don’t have any savings for my family. It’s afternoon, I have earned only Taka 80. In normal time I would have earned TK 700-900 a day. I don’t know how I will manage food for the family. Maintaining social distancing is a joke for us.”

Earlier the government declared the closure of all public transport. When asked, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Health Officer and spokesperson Dr Mir Mustafizur Rahman said,” With the help of law enforcement agencies, initiatives have been taken to identify the foreigners with the address mentioned in the passport.”

Some 592 returnees from abroad are staying at home quarantine, however, 648 are missing in my area, he added. Talking to Bangladesh Post, Physician A B ABM Abdullah said, “Local administrations will have to play active role to detect and stop the spread of coronavirus. Awareness is the key here. Avoiding masses must be encouraged.”

In this regard, Dr Monowar Hossain of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) said, “We all understand the emotion of returnees coming back to the country. But for this period, I would request our brothers to remain at their homes in this crucial time “

“Bangladesh is digital now. If it is an urgent case to contact, please talk to relatives through the video call. Don’t pay a visit to your relatives. Maintain distance for overall safety. Local government administration must act carefully to stop this. Follow the home quarantine which will help us all. Think humanly, don’t put your community in danger”, the doctor added.

Now the situation in the country poses the biggest threat to spreading of coronavirus because of gathering of mass people in rural areas. According to them, the way people are returning to the villages is extremely risky. When people were asked to maintain social distance, they returned to the villages crammed in different types of transports.

Earlier, people were fined for not obeying social distancing. Foreign returnees around the country are also roaming freely violating local administration’s mandatory home quarantine order.

Former Vice-Chancellor and Virologist Professor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Dr Nazrul Islam said,” The government's decisions on the coronavirus issue have been delayed. There were extreme negligence and failure of the responsible people who could not enforce self-quarantine. Since not everyone can be placed in the institutional quarantine, it was necessary to give the utmost importance to ensuring their home quarantine.”

“Now the villages are also at risk,” adding he urged to ensure quarantine of these people who returned to the village on an emergency basis.