Whither health guidelines?


Though officials of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) at their health bulletins are warning people every day to follow health rules to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, a very small number of people are doing so.

Despite the increasing numbers of infections and deaths, these instructions seem to be falling on deaf ears.

On his way to the city’s Tejgaon area from Rampura on Friday, this correspondent witnessed gross violations of the health rules issued by the government.

Construction work on sewage lines is going on in the Banasree area, with most of the construction workers not wearing any masks while working at the sites.

Mohammad Nurul Islam, hailing from Mithapukur area in Rangpur district is supervising the labourers.

Bangladesh Post correspondent talked to him and some of his workers about not using masks. Nurul said, “Actually every construction labourer has to give hard physical labour at the site. They do not feel comfortable using masks while working.”

He however, claimed that the construction company had provided an adequate number of masks for the workers as a safety measure.

Muslim Atiq, a middle-aged construction worker was smoking while removing soil from the site.

When asked he said, “The company had given a mask at the beginning of the work. But I lost the mask. I did not collect another mask from the supervisor of the site.”

Three women were also removing soil along with male workers. None of them were wearing masks.

They also told this correspondent that they do not feel comfortable wearing masks.

Near the construction site, there was a super shop of a leading brand where a printed sticker was at the main entrance, prohibiting entry of people without masks.

But this correspondent witnessed that some of the customers were being allowed to enter without masks.

When contacted, a lady security guard at the outlet said, “We always encourage our customers to wear masks before entering our outlets.”

Most of the customers follow the instructions, she claimed.

But we cannot always resist the customers who were not wearing masks, she admitted.

This correspondent then got into a micro bus to reach Tejgaon. The driver of the vehicle was also not wearing a mask.

He claimed that he always wears a mask.  But he had lost his mask and would buy another one soon.

On the way to Tejgaon, this correspondent saw dozens of rickshaw pullers moving on the city streets without wearing masks. Some of the passengers in the buses were also not using masks. Many of the buses were overcrowded, posing a serious health threat.

Many people were moving on the busy roads without maintaining physical distance with others.

Some youths were smoking and walking posing a potential threat of contracting COVID-19.

At around 830 pm, this correspondent returned to Rampura using the same routes. Ignoring government instructions, some tea stalls and makeshift shops still remained open.

Many low-income people were buying clothes, some of them were taking tea from the vendors. 

Earlier in May, the government made wearing masks mandatory outside homes. Many other instructions were also issued. Armed Forces personnel and Bangladesh Police have been assigned to ensure that people follow the rules. But people are still to follow the health guidelines.