• Sunday, Jul 12, 2020
  • Last Update : 06:55 pm

‘Health guidelines’ violation on mass transport may worsen situation’

  • Published at 10:47 pm June 1st, 2020
WEB_passengers get on a bus in Dhaka_Rajib Dhar_01.06.2020
Commuters line up to get on a local bus in Dhaka on Monday, June 01, 2020 Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune

Transport owners and leaders claim they have provided equipment to maintain hygiene and directives on strictly following health guidelines to all staff

The government’s move of reopening transport and offices on a limited scale to keep the economy afloat may have an adverse effect on the Covid-19 situation, and put paid to all previous shutdown measures since health guidelines are vastly neglected.

Health experts and local government bodies across Bangladesh have urged one and all to practise social distancing to curtail the spread of the virus as they warn of a worsening situation in the country.

On the other hand, transport owners and leaders have claimed that they have provided equipment to maintain hygiene and directives on strictly following health guidelines for all staff, including drivers, supervisors and their helpers.

Visiting several inter-district bus terminals at Dhaka’s Mohakhali, Gabtoli, Sayedabad, and talking with several transport agencies, Dhaka Tribune found that health guidelines, especially social distancing measures, were ignored on a large scale as passengers travelled freely and carelessly, using mass transport and other vehicles. Buses on some routes, however, have fewer passengers than usual, which ensures social distancing to an extent.

In contrast, social distancing is not being enforced on routes where buses are carrying more passengers.

In addition, on local transport vehicles, including human haulers such as tempo, Nosimon, etc., which ferry passengers in residentials areas in the capital, passengers crowded into vehicles as drivers would not start a trip until all seats were occupied.

Bus driver Abdul Halim said the public transport people were making sure everyone, including staff and passengers, wore face masks. “We forbid passengers from getting on board without masks.”

A visit inside the bus showed his words to be true. Ironically, though, the driver and the passengers did not follow social distancing measures themselves.

Wearing masks on the chin, leaving the face and nose uncovered, they were seen touching their eyes, faces, noses, and mouths frequently.

Especially when collecting fares, both passengers and conductors were seen negotiating fares by removing their masks.

When asked why they did not follow health directives, passenger Roton Sorkar said the scorching heat and dust inside the bus made passengers uncomfortable and unable to breathe. “First they need to keep the buses clean and only then will coronavirus infections be reduced.”

Another bus driver, Hafizur Rahman, said: “Passengers are not readily available now. Most of the seats remain empty. We did not make any profits after hiking the bus fares.”

Another bus driver, Hossen Ali, said before passengers get on the bus, they disinfect their hands with sanitizers, but he declined to comment on maintaining social distance protocols inside the bus.

About such intersections as those at Rampura, Badda, Banasree and Hatirjheel, said traffic police sergeant Abdul Ahad: “As and when we stop the buses and other vehicles, only then do they [drivers and helpers] put on masks. Otherwise their faces remain uncovered.”

“Normally passengers are few in some buses so social distance is being maintained automatically. But the big question now is how long will the passengers abide by it,” the traffic sergeant added.

As for social distancing on flights, Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh (CAAB) Chairman Air Vice Marshal Md Mofidur Rahman said: “We are monitoring whether the passengers and the airlines are following all the hygiene rules and other instructions.”

He said all measures had been taken at the airports to ensure the health and safety of passengers of the resumed flights.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s personal physician Dr ABM Abdullah has said: “We need both lives and livelihood but we need to strictly follow health guidelines and take actions against those violating them.”

Otherwise, the virus can easily be transmitted while passengers and conductors handle fares, especially since no one knows who is infected with Covid-19.

“If we want to stop the spread of the coronavirus, the only way to do it is to stop community transmission by practising social distancing. Dhaka is a densely populated city. So, day by day passengers will overcrowd transport. The Covid-19 situation will then worsen and the virus will hit with double the force than it does now,” physician Dr ABM Abdullah warned.

56
55
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail