The authorities must get strict with people, and if necessary, force them to abide by the health guidelines
With winter upon us, the cases of the coronavirus appear to be on the rise as well. However, part of Bangladesh’s consistently high rate of infection must be attributed to the general public.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in what is happening at the popular tourist destinations of Cox’s Bazar and Saint Martin’s, where tourists are seen to pay little heed to the safety rules and regulations -- rules such as wearing masks and maintaining their distance.
Bangladesh’s response to Covid-19 has been tricky; as a developing country with the lion’s share of its working population in the informal economy, extended lockdowns were having a devastating effect on people’s livelihoods, forcing millions into poverty.
Therefore, the fact that the tourism industry is operational again, particularly during peak season when it generates most income, is understandable.However, with the threat of the coronavirus as severe if not more now, there is a legitimate fear that all the work that was done in the earlier months to try and curb the spread of the virus could be undone through negligence and disregard.
Suffice to say, this cannot be allowed to happen. The authorities must get strict with people, and if necessary, force them to abide by the health guidelines. Moreover, it must be ensured that all staff and personnel related to the hospitality industry, from hotels to flights to other means of transportation, are diligent in following the rules, maintaining social distance, and disinfecting.
The people of Bangladesh, too, must do better. By now, there is no doubting that wearing masks, regular handwashing, and maintaining social distance are the three golden rules to help curb the spread of this deadly virus. There is no alternative for the time being.