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Worries grow over Eid-time public transport movement

Published : 16 Jul 2020 10:34 PM | Updated : 07 Sep 2020 08:07 PM

The decision to allow the movement of public transport during Eid-ul-Adha may further deteriorate the coronavirus situations across the country as vehicles are tend to not comply with the hygiene guidelines, experts say.

On Thursday, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader in a video message announced that public transport will be in operation across the country during the Eid.

Movement of heavy vehicles will remain suspended for three days before and after the Eid. Vehicles providing emergency services, or carrying perishable goods, medicine, garment equipment and cattle vehicles will remain out of the purview of the decision, he added.

Talking to Bangladesh Post, public health expert Motahar Hossain advised people to try best to avoid touching any part of the vehicle other than their seats while travelling and use disinfectant while handling luggage on the vehicles.

“Wear masks and gloves and dispose these to safe places after usage,” said Motahar urging the home-goers to maintain safe distance when someone sneezes or coughs.

Meanwhile, transport owners were instructed to operate vehicles in compliance with hygiene guidelines, including maintaining physical distance. Passengers were told to do so. However, both sides seemed to be reluctant to follow the instructions.

Buses owners were directed to carry passengers at a half of their vehicles’ capacity to prevent spread of coronavirus. But, scenarios were total opposite in most cases.

On spot visits to different parts of the capital on Thursday, this correspondent found most of the buses were being run without maintaining physical distance and complying other health safety rules.

Medicine specialist Professor Z M Kabir Chowhury told Bangladesh Post that the majority of the virus infections are still being reported from big cities including Dhaka, Chittagong, Gazipur, Narayanganj. But most people leave these cities during Eid-holidays.

“Some 75 percent of our rural areas are still virus free. However, some of those who are leaving the coronavirus-hit cities may carry the virus to the rural area in the course of the Eid travel,” he warned.

“Some people may not show symptoms of Covid-19 and some may not even know whether they host the virus. There is no alternative to following hygiene guidelines during Eid celebration,” he advised.

Minister Quader also urged to the Eid home-goers to follow maximum health safety precautions while travelling for the sake of all.

As of Thursday, Bangladesh so far has confirmed 196,323 cases and 2,496 deaths with 2,733 news cases and 39 fatalities in the last 24 hours, the health department said.