The country is officially under lockdown till May 16, but in reality almost everything is going on as usual. Despite the government’s repeated appeal to the people to observe this Eid in their present location, the rush of the homebound people from Dhaka and other major cities is astonishing, to say the least.
Since the enforcement of various restrictions on public mobility people are constantly being told to follow safety rules and avoid physical contact by maintaining a distance of at least one metre from others to keep the virus at bay. But, two pictures in this newspaper’s yesterday issue have proved that social distancing still remains an illusion. It has also made us wonder if common people understand the concept of social distancing at all.One of the pictures showed how thousands of people venture on a ferry trip huddling together to go to their village homes in different northern districts to celebrate Eid with their near and dear ones. The other photograph was shot from the capital’s traditional New Market to show the gross violations of social distancing norms and related health protocols. The crowds have simply displayed a mass behaviour that defies reason although Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged people to celebrate Eid at their present locations instead of going homes at villages.
Crowds have defied laws on social distancing risking their own lives as well as that of others. Thus they are violating lockdown rules and health guidelines either knowingly or unknowingly, but so far the authorities concerned are showing leniency.
We think the time has come to get tough on health rule flouters. As the government gives top priority to save lives from the pandemic, it should issue proper directives to the law enforcers to act effectively in cases where there are gross violations of rules. They should impose fines and penalties if it is a matter of intent or gross irregularity; otherwise lockdown won’t work putting the nation in danger. Anyone who deliberately endangers others must expect that this will have serious consequences for him/her.
On Friday, the country registered 37 deaths from the virus, the lowest daily tally in almost six weeks. We must not jeopardise the recovery by accepting a further increase in infections. Anyhow, people must compel to behave in a responsible manner.