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Lockdown in Dhaka: Surging infections, soaring chaos

  • Published at 04:23 pm August 2nd, 2021
Launch lockdown
People return to Dhaka to join their workplaces amid strict lockdown flouting health guidelines on August 1, 2021 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Workers of export-oriented industries keep toiling back to the capital like the past few days creating pressure on the entry points

Bangladesh has been under a fresh lockdown since July 23, barring people from leaving their homes except for essential reasons. Are things really different in the capital Dhaka from normal life? Not at all!

Dhaka witnessed the higher movement of vehicles on the 11th day of the countrywide “stringent lockdown” with the reopening of garment and other export-oriented factories.

The reopening of banks after a three-day closure, including the two-day weekly holiday, also contributed to a steep rise in the movement of people and private vehicles, reports a UNB correspondent.

After a reality-check at different parts of the capital, including Uttara, Mohakhali, Mirpur, Kalabagan, Bijoy Sarani, Badda, Farmgate, Shyamoli, Karwan Bazar and Banglamotor, the UNB correspondent on Monday saw an increase in the number of private cars and CNG-run auto-rickshaws on roads.

During office hours, Dhaka almost returned to its usual chaotic look in these places with long tailbacks at times.

The correspondents also observed the presence of public transports on Dhaka streets although their operations were supposed to be suspended from Monday.

Also Read - In pictures: RMG workers rush towards Dhaka as fear of losing jobs trumps Covid

Rahela Begum, a resident of the Moghbazar area, said: ”I see, from my balcony, 15 vehicles passing the main road in front of my building every minute on average like the pre-lockdown days. People are also moving freely without masks.

“Is this lockdown will be effective enough to bring down infections and deaths?”

Talking to UNB, Jubayer Ahmed, a working man, said: “Mills and factories have been reopened amid the worsening Covid situation. So, people’s movement has increased. It might worsen the situation.”

Akhter Hossain, a traffic inspector at Uttara Zone, said: “We saw the maximum pressure of vehicles today after Eid. The situation in the morning was almost like pre-lockdown days.”

Traffic Inspector Asaduzzaman (Mohakhali) said the number of vehicles is higher than the days before lockdown as almost all industries have reopened.

However, law enforcers were seen vigilant on the streets as many were detained or fined for wandering without any reason or not abiding by health guidelines.

Also Read - RMG workers block highway for lack of transport, fare hike

On Monday, many workers of export-oriented industries kept toiling back to the capital like days in the past creating pressure on the entry points of the capital.

While visiting Gabtoli, Sayedabad, Tongi, Babu Bazar Bridge, Demra Bridge, Ashulia Bridge and other entry points, UNB correspondents observed a mad rush of people and transports trying to get into the capital in buses, pickup vans, trucks and even on foot.

Although restrictions on public transport movement were supposed to return after 6am Monday, law enforcers showing an open mind about the sufferings of returning factory workers, allowing vehicles to enter through checkposts till noon.

Reimposed at 8am on July 23, the second round of strict lockdown will be in force till August 5, unless extended further.

The government last Friday allowed industry owners to reopen all export-oriented factories from Sunday amid the lockdown.