Sunday, 17 October, 2021

Factories reopen amid Covid surge as ‘economy falters’

Export-oriented industries resumed operation on Sunday, the 10th day of the ongoing stringent lockdown, amid warnings against Covid surge as workers started returning to their workplaces without maintaining health protocols.

The workers in their thousands have been on their way back to their workplaces in Narayanganj, Gazipur and Mymensingh in Dhaka division since Friday after the government’s announcement of reopening factories.

The workers took their arduous journeys to get back to their workplaces as public transport remained suspended due to the lockdown.

They walked miles for miles or moved on in hired auto-rickshaws, motorbikes, goods-laden vehicles in their desperate bid to join work.

Later, the government on Saturday night allowed public transport to operate until 12 pm on Sunday to facilitate the return of workers. 

Buses started plying roads from early Sunday and people were seen entering the capital through Gabtoli, Abdullahpur, Mohakhali, Sayedabad, Postagola and Babubazar point by bus or on foot.

The Covid-19 crisis has hit the country’s economy hard and jeopardized its impressive achievements in poverty reduction, according to economists.

Akhter Hossain, a traffic inspector (Uttara), said “As the government declared the reopening of factories from today so we allowed the public transport to enter the capital since morning. No transport will be allowed to go outside Dhaka after 12 pm.”

Public transport from the adjacent districts of Dhaka, including Mymensingh, Tangail and Manikganj districts, were seen entering the capital, he said.

However, the number of long-haul vehicles was hardly seen on the roads.

Asaduzzaman, traffic inspector (Mohakhali), said, “We’re checking the buses moving on the streets whether they’re following health guidelines.”

Besides, the checking of private vehicles is going on like the other days, he added.

The launch services also resumed on Sunday morning. The launch owners claimed that they started launch operations late due to a shortage of passengers.

UNB’s Tangail Correspondent reports that light traffic congestion was seen on Dhaka-Tangail-Bangabandhu Bridge due to pressure of Dhaka-bound vehicles.

Besides, highway police are working to control the situation.

A record surge in the number of Covid cases and fatalities in recent days prompted the government to enforce a nationwide stringent lockdown, suspending all outdoor activities unless there is an emergency.