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Lockdown Day 5: People crowd the streets, thousands return to Dhaka

  • Published at 02:39 pm July 27th, 2021
Lockdown day 5
Throngs of people crowd the streets of Jatrabari in Dhaka defying the nationwide strict lockdown enforced to curb the ongoing Covid-19 surge in the country, on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 Dhaka Tribune

Some offices are operating despite the strict lockdown 

More people started thronging the roads on the fifth day of the strict lockdown while the number of private vehicles also increased compared to previous days.

There is no public transport for both long haul and intra-city communication, but even then people continued to enter the city from different parts of the country, using small vehicles like CNG-run auto-rickshaws, private cars, and motorcycles.

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, emerging from a high-level meeting on inoculation management and Covid-19 pandemic situation at the secretariat, told reporters that the ongoing lockdown that started from July 23 would continue.

Industrialists requested the government to let them resume production in their factories but the government rejected the appeal in the interest of the country.

At Banasree, Rampura, Khilgaon, Mouchak, Malibagh, Farmgate and Eskaton areas, the movement of rickshaws as well private cars had increased.

Also Read - Fatalities hit yet another high in Bangladesh as 258 die of Covid in a day

There were checkposts throughout the city but the police were not as strict as on previous days to check people and vehicles. People were also desperate to somehow bypass the checkposts.

Md Rafiqul Islam, an engineer who went to Khilgaon on his own bike on Tuesday morning said: “Police tried to stop me two times but I didn't stop my bike. If I did that, today they would surely fine me.”

"Besides going to the bank or hospital, people like me need to come outside for various purposes. Is it possible to answer the queries of the police at every checkpost?" he asked.

"It's not possible to convince people not to come outside if they don't become aware of the situation themselves. The police can't force anyone to stay home if everyone comes up with an excuse," said Sergeant Mahbub Shikder of Rampura Television Centre checkpost.

People gather to buy things from street vendors in Dhaka, defying health guidelines amid a nationwide strict lockdown to prevent Covid-19 transmission, on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 Dhaka Tribune

He also said that the police had fined people a total of Tk10,000 from the morning till 1pm and filed 3-4 cases against those who committed serious offenses.

"We try not to mistreat people but those who give flimsy excuses have to be fined. For example, someone says that he lives in Meradia and is going to Mouchak to buy rice in his own car. What shall we do after hearing this kind of a false excuse?" he said.

Police officers said that they could control this situation if they had to deal with a few cars only. However, as many were coming out in their own vehicles now, it was becoming challenging for them to manage people as well as vehicles.

They also said that people usually came out during office hours, as a few offices were open since July 25, and in that case, they had to let them go.

The Trading Corporation Of Bangladesh (TCB) was distributing relief opposite Rampura Television Centre checkpost at around 1pm, but no one followed social distancing despite the police being present there.

Holidaymakers returning to Dhaka

Thousands of commuters were seen entering Dhaka on motorcycles, in private cars and microbuses, crossing the Padma River via Paturia-Daulatdia ferry terminals.

The vehicles come to the ferry terminals from the southern and south-eastern districts, bypassing police checkposts on the highways.

People return to Dhaka on a truck due to a lack of public transport during a nationwide strict lockdown to curb Covid-19 transmission, on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 | Dhaka Tribune

“A limited number of ferries are plying for emergency service vehicles. However, some passengers and private vehicles are also boarding these ferries along with emergency service vehicles. They were not asked to disembark due to humanitarian reasons,” said Shihab Uddin, Daulatdia ghat manager of the Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC).

He said that a total of six ferries were in operation since morning.

“The pressure of passengers was low today because of rain. Mostly vehicles on emergency duty and goods-laden ones crossed the river,” he added.   

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