The terminals did not have any special measures in place to deal with the sudden rush, and quickly became too full to be able to maintain social distancing measures
Thousands of people rushed to bus and launch terminals after the government announced a week-long lockdown to combat Covid-19, turning the terminals into coronavirus hazard zones on Saturday.
On Saturday morning, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said the government was set to impose a countrywide lockdown from Monday as part of its efforts to curb the new wave of Covid-19. Soon afterwards, massive crowds formed at bus and launch terminals despite the government directive for a limit on public gatherings.
The terminals did not have any special measures in place to deal with the sudden rush, and quickly became too full to be able to maintain social distancing measures. The government directive for transports to operate at 50% passenger capacity to facilitate social distancing did not appear to be followed during the mass exodus.
Several passengers, who were mostly street vendors or day labourers, said they were returning to their home districts as they would not survive a lockdown in Dhaka. They also alleged that some bus companies were taking advantage of the rush and charging extra fares from passengers.
A student at Gabtoli bus terminal claimed the bus operator had charged Tk700 instead of Tk350 to take him to Pabna.
The government was yet to issue an official notice on the lockdown or suspension of public transport as of 7pm on Saturday. Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan said train services would be suspended from Monday, April 5, if the government went through with the lockdown.
State Minister for Public Administration Farhad Hossain told Dhaka Tribune that industries and factories would continue to operate while following health guidelines.
When asked why factories would remain open, he said: “If we close them, the workers may have to leave for their homes.”