A significant number of people went out of their homes on Monday, the fifth day of the 10-day public holiday, violating the government order for maintaining social distancing to fight the spread of novel coronavirus although experts warned that there was no room for people to feel relaxed.
New Age found that people who defied the ban mostly belonged to the low-income population while some owners of small business also resumed activities across the otherwise empty city.
Hanufa Begum, a housemaid, was seen waiting on Bir Uttam CR Datta Road with six other women hoping to receive relief from any sources.
Hanufa said that she would prefer to be infected rather than dying in hunger.
Nuru Mia, a meat trader at the Hatirpool kitchen market in the capital, said that he closed his store three days back fearing COVID-19 spread. But today he opened the store as his fear was gone and after receiving a sizable number of customers.
‘As infected persons are not found in the country I am feeling safe to start my business,’ he told New Age on Monday afternoon.
Since only one person out of 18 crore people of the country was infected in the last three days, people like Nuru Mia was feeling relaxed.
Public health expert and also former vice-chancellor of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University Rashid-e-Mahbub said that peak time of spread of COVID-19 was not yet over in Bangladesh.
He said that people should not feel relaxed as low number of corona infected people was identified so far as this number might increase at any time in the coming days.
The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research director Meerjady Sabrina Flora also warned that the risks of infections with coronavirus in Bangladesh was still prevailing despite a small number of people were found to have been identified with the virus in the last couple of days.
‘There is no scope for believing that the risk of COVID-19 decreased in our country,’ she said urging the people to follow government instructions.
Former president of Bangladesh Medical Association Rashid-e-Mahbub said that Bangladesh missed two preventive measures — quarantining expatriates and testing suspected all people — if it missed the final one which was home quarantine and maintaining social distancing, there would nothing to do if the situation worsened.
In Bhatara, the Dhaka North City Corporation officials were seen visiting houses of returnee Bangladeshis to check whether they were maintaining home quarantine.
An executive magistrate, Hemayet Hossain, led a mobile court for the DNCC in the area with a large convoy and said they visited houses randomly to check whether individuals were straying home after returning from abroad.
At about 1:15pm, the Bhatara police station officer-in-charge Moktaruzzaman was with the mobile court and said they were maintaining social distancing and also providing relief items including rice and pulse for the needy.
Several dozens of people were seen gathering in front of the Bhatara police station at about 12:15noon as they were looking for relief materials.
The government on March 23 ordered deployment of three services in aid to civil administration to fight the coronavirus situation while announcing 10-day public holiday from March 26, banning all kinds of public gatherings.
Movements of all modes of public transports have also been banned to contain the coronavirus spread.