Thursday, 18 August, 2022
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Bus, train, launch services to be halted if corona situation worsens: Ministers

As public transport and mass gatherings pose a high risk for Covid-19 transmission, the government will consider suspension of bus, train and launch services in the country if the coronavirus situation worsens, said ministers.
 
Railways Minister Md Nurul Islam Sujan has said they have taken some pre-cautionary measures at trains and railway stations as per directives of the Health Ministry to prevent the spread of deadly coronavirus. “If the situation turns worse, the government will take initiatives to stop train services for a certain period,” he told UNB.
 
The body temperature of passengers is being checked at major railway stations of the country, including Kamalapur, Airport, Chattogram, Rajshahi, Khulna and Sylhet, before they enter those, he said.
 
Railway staff and physicians are conducting the screening of passengers, the minister added.
 
Besides, conservancy workers are cleaning seats and handles of all trains before passengers embark those, he said, acknowledging the shortage of medicines for disinfecting train bogies. “We’ll talk to the Health Ministry in this regard.”
 
Passengers are requested to use masks during journey and authorities concerned are making announcement through loudspeakers for creating awareness about coronavirus, Sujan said.
 
Contacted, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said preventive measures have been taken as per directives of the Health Ministry and bus owners have been directed to follow the directives. “Bus owners have been asked to disinfect vehicles before those carry passengers,” he told UNB.
 
Replying to a query about stopping inter-district bus service, the minister said necessary steps will be taken if needed.
 
Mentioning the declining bus passengers amid coronavirus fears, he said, “Now, the number will fall automatically due to the situation. We’ll take further steps if necessary.”
 
Enayet Ullah, secretary general of Bangladesh Transport Owners' Association, said following the government’s directives, hand sanitiser and tissue papers have been kept at all inter-district buses so that passengers can use those before boarding vehicles.
 
State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury said they are conducting an awareness campaign at all river ports, launches and steamers across the country for the last one month and leaflets are also being distributed to raise awareness about coronavirus.
 
Medical teams are working at all launches and steamers, he said, adding that owners of launches and steamers have been asked to take measures in this regard.
 
“Currently, we’re discouraging people to travel by launches and steamers and if the situation turns worse, the movement of all river vessels will be suspended,” the state minister said.
 
Health Minister Zahid Maleque told UNB that people have been advised to refrain from travelling by public transport if they have fever, cough and cold.
 
All the ministries concerned have been asked to take measures to disinfect public transport and the passengers have been directed to clean their hands with hand sanitiser before boarding any transport.
 
Meanwhile, the death toll from coronavirus or Covid-19 has reached 8,967 globally as of Thursday. It has so far infected 219,240 people around the world, according to worldometer.
 
Three more people were tested positive for coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country on Thursday, raising the total number of corona cases to 17.
 
Besides, authorities confirmed the first death from coronavirus in the country on Wednesday.