Although most of them were found wearing masks, they were also seen gathering in front of the shops without maintaining the required distance of 1 metre or so thought to be safe for preventing transmission of COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.Talking to many people and shopkeepers, our correspondent encountered their callous attitude towards maintaining social distancing.
Though the government is regularly urging people to stay alert and always maintain social distancing, they were seen moving around and shopping as usual. No signs were found on the walls of the kitchen market reminding people to ensure the distance.
A pharmacy owner, Rakibur Rahman, said they are trying to make customers aware about the social distancing but people are reluctant about following the guidelines.
Jamshed Hossain, a private service-holder, told that he had just come out of the house to roam around.
When reminded that it is very risky to roam around with no reason at all at this time, he answered that staying at home for a long time made him “bored” and so, he needed a break.Many people were also passing their time in lanes of their localities without avoiding the gatherings despite strict instructions from the government.
Doctors are repeatedly saying if the public gatherings cannot be avoided, it will be a ‘massacre’.
Mustak Ahmed, councillor of the Ward 62 of Dhaka South City Corporation, said they are tired of making people understand as they are not paying any heed to their awareness-raising activities.
“We’ve already sent letters to mosques to limit the number of people attending prayers and maintain the social distancing. We’re trying our best. We need cooperation from people,” he said.
Additional Deputy Commissioner (Administration) of Wari Division of Dhaka Metropolitan Police Iftekhairul Islam told that they are finding the task of keeping people at their homes very tough as they are playing hide and seek with the police and they are coming out of home without any reason.
He also said people should understand that the government announced the general holiday for staying at home which will reduce the risk of the spread of the virus.
People are not willing to follow the guidelines properly, though “we are trying hard to make them understand,” he added.
The government last week announced public holiday from March 29 to April 2 with the deployment of army personnel for limiting the public gatherings and mass transports to check the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The five-day general holiday, however, automatically turned into a 10-day vacation because they coincide with the public holiday on the occasion of the Independence Day on March 26 and the weekends on March 27-28 and April 3-4.