In the face of another mad rush of people, this time to get back to their workplaces in Dhaka and other cities from across the country after Eid vacation, the government issued another circular extending the on-going restrictions on public mobility until 23 May. Given the alarming covid-19 situation in our neighbouring India and the detection of Indian corona variant in Bangladesh, we think extension of the lockdown was necessary and timely. But it is a matter of regret that the restrictions exist only on paper. Neither the government is imposing the ‘all-out lockdown’ strictly, nor are the people in general obeying the lockdown guidelines.
Over the last couple of weeks infection and fatality rates from Covid-19 have decreased substantially thanks to strict lockdown in the month of April. However, millions of people have gone to their ancestral homes during Eid and are now returning to their workplaces in cities defying government order. There was lockdown before Eid, and there is lockdown at present. Inter district bus and train services were cut off. But as many as six million people have left Dhaka before Eid and are now returning in their droves. It raises renewed fear of a possible third wave of corona infection and it shouldn’t be taken lightly.If governmental duty and action are confined to merely issuing of a circular and if the people keep ignoring rules and restrictions, then we as a nation may have to pay a dire price because of the pandemic.
So far Bangladesh fared better than many developed countries in handling corona situation despite a myriad of shortcomings. But it would be unwise to take the situation for granted that the virulent virus would not do much harm to us. Complacency and inertia may prove fatal.
We hope the government, social organisations and institutions, and overall the people will behave responsibly to keep the virus at bay by following health guidelines as long as we cannot vaccinate a majority of the people. So we must not let our guard down prematurely.