The government has extended the ongoing restrictions for one more week until 30 May to contain the growing infections of the deadly coronavirus after Eid vacation. Restaurants and public transport will remain out purview of the restrictions, though. As many as 25 people died of the novel coronavirus in 24 hours till Monday morning with 1,441 new infections.
Although public transport were operating within districts, inter-district public transport were closed during the Eid. Train and launch services were closed too. The inter-district transport resumed operations with half of the capacity from 24 May. Such an initiative will reduce the sufferings of the commuters as well as relieve the workers of the transport sector.
During the Eid-ul-Fitr, people travelled by microbuses, vans, autorickshaws and even trucks at high fares risking their lives. Earlier there was an arrangement to buy food from the restaurants but there was no opportunity to sit and eat there. A small number of hotels and restaurants are also open from Monday.
Restrictions were announced since 5 April to combat the second wave of coronavirus infections. The question of maintaining balance between life and livelihood is highly important. When there are restrictions, the economy shrinks and the extremely poor and low-income people are in great danger.
In this situation, the need to introduce public transport and keep hotels and restaurants open cannot be denied. The government is suggesting to strictly follow health guidelines, but it is not an easy task to enforce it. As there is carelessness among the people, there is also negligence in the government agencies concerned. There is no alternative to ensuring the implementation of the ‘No Mask No Service’ programme.
The situation was improving as lockdowns and restrictions were imposed at the beginning of the second wave of coronavirus infection. The situation in Bangladesh is still under control, especially compared to neighbouring India. Meanwhile, there is a matter of concern that the Indian variant of coronavirus has been detected in Bangladesh. Although the government closed the land ports with India, it could not be fully implemented. Import and export of emergency goods at the border continues. Many stranded in India have returned to the country, too.
According to Prothom Alo, coronavirus infections are relatively high in seven border districts after the Eid holiday. These districts are Jashore, Satkhira, Jhenaidah, Chuadanga, Rajshahi, Chapainawabganj and Sylhet. It is certainly related with travelling to India. Of the 146 coronavirus patients admitted to Rajshahi Medical College Hospital on Saturday, 77 were residents of Chapainawabganj. The situation in other border districts is easily predictable when so many people are affected in one district. Many do not even observe compulsory isolation.
In that case, there is a risk of increase in infections. Before the Eid holidays, the Indian strain of coronavirus was identified in different parts of the country. Therefore, in order to keep the level of infection at a tolerable level, there is no alternative to increasing surveillance in all the border districts as well as to force every citizen to abide by the health rules.