Wednesday, 20 October, 2021

Use coercion to maintain Covid protocol

Use coercion to maintain Covid protocol

With the lifting of the lockdown, businesses and offices opened, and commuters have started plying the roads to reach their workplaces. Thus, the roads have returned to their previous condition of congestion and traffic jams, which was the long standing normal look of Dhaka city. One cannot blame the commuters crowding the roads and public transports, as they have to reach their destination in time. Although physically distancing oneself from other people is literally impossible during daily commuting in a busy city like Dhaka, everyone must be made to become serious about properly wearing masks.

Some photographs showing different roads of Dhaka, revealed bus helpers wearing masks on their chins or not wearing any. Even many among the busy passengers were in similar condition. Such reckless behaviour of a few may endanger the lives of thousands. The number of infections had just stopped their steep climb at the tail end of the lockdown. Despite the ‘strict’ lockdown not being abided by the masses very strictly, but at least there were some semblance of movement restrictions. With all offices remaining closed except emergency services and banks, people hardly had much excuse to go out without valid reasons.

Lockdown is not a permanent solution for a country like Bangladesh where the majority of the population are either daily wage earners or relatively poor having very little savings. But while the government is spending millions on mass vaccinations, it is also necessary to ensure that the infection rate is kept at a low level, so as not to overwhelm the healthcare facilities. Therefore, effective alternatives to the lockdown must be followed strictly. As keeping social or physical distance in a densely populated country like Bangladesh is next to impossible, therefore wearing of masks must be strictly enforced as well as sanitising / washing of hands.

Reckless behaviour like not wearing masks properly in public places must be made an offence under the current pandemic situation. Keeping track of whether people are maintaining Covid protocol or not can be a hassle for our already overburdened law enforcers. Neither can we expect that all the people will abide by the rules without some legal penalty for breaking the rules. Therefore, imposing a nominal fine for not wearing masks properly in public places may help to deter people from behaving callously till everyone is vaccinated.