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Coronavirus outbreak

No social distance for relief seekers!

Published : 05 Apr 2020 09:18 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 01:08 AM

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread in Bangladesh, people from different strata are helping the poor get daily essentials in different parts of the country including Dhaka.

But, practicing social distance to prevent the spread of the virus is rear among the relief seekers in addition to unplanned relief distributions, posing a risk of community transmission.

Bangladesh has so far recorded 88 cases of Covid-19 - the disease caused by the coronavirus that has so far claimed nine lives.
The government closed schools, offices, shut down communications, extended public holidays to April 14, and advised people to stay home.

Troops have been deployed to help civil administration combat the virus and ensure social distance among the people.
The lockdown hit hard on the low income people and daily wage-earners. So, they were desperate for a package of daily essentials, let alone practicing social distance.

On spot visits to the capitals’ Rampura and Banasree areas recently, number of relief seekers was seen on the rise with some even allegedly receiving reliefs more than once.

Several people were seen taking relief materials home by rickshaw and van.
Maleka Begum, an elderly housemaid from Rampura, told Bangladesh Post that she did not get any relief foods.

“I could not fight over it with the other adults. But my neighbor Shiuly Akter managed to get three packets of reliefs” she lamented.
Relief workers, however, admitted guidelines on the virus prevention could not be followed properly during the distribution.

“Most of the relief seekers do not practice social distance. They have no masks and hand gloves. They are desperate to get reliefs,” said a relief worker, who wished to go unnamed.

“The practices must stop to prevent the spared of the virus among the mass,” he added.
Besides, incidents of clashes were reported from the capital’s Ramna area on Wednesday and Mirpur Bihari Camp on Thursday during the relief distribution.

Following the incidents, police asked all to inform the law enforcements and local authorities before distributing foods to the poor.
“Social distance is not being practiced in many places when it comes to food distribution,” Assistant Inspector General (media and public relations) of Police Headquarters Mir Sohel Rana told Bangladesh Post.

“We request individuals and groups to inform local police and administration so that we can be at the places of food distributions to prevent any untoward incident and ensure social distance guidelines,” he added.