People continue leaving Dhaka for Eid amid COVID-19 pandemic

Tapos Kanti Das | Published: 19:55, May 24,2020


Vehicles are seen in Gabtoli Bus Terminal area in Dhaka amid lockdown on Saturday, May 23, 2020. — Sony Ramany

Thousands of people continued to leave Dhaka on Sunday for their homes across the country to celebrate tomorrow’s Eid-ul-Fitr with their near and dear ones at homes despite high risk of COVID-19 infection as the country was witnessing high rate of death and infection of the deadly virus.

As buses are not plying on roads, the home bound people are opting to rent private cars, microbuses, motorcycles and even and goods laden vehicles what they can manage to travel as the police on Friday announced to withdraw all checkpoints at the exit points of the capital and on the highways ahead of Eid.

The home-bound people are not maintaining social distancing even after repeated call of the government to do so. Until Sunday, the death toll from the COVID-19 hit 480 and the number of infections reached to 33,610.

Muslims of the country will celebrate the Eid on Monday and the government, due to COVID-19 outbreak, banned Eid Jamaats at open spaces and Eidgahs.

A number of home goers, especially working class people, said that they were leaving Dhaka risking lives and enduring pains on roads to celebrate Eid with near and dear ones in homes and also to get relief from enduring unbearable and costly life in Dhaka where they had almost no work.

While visiting Gabtoli, Mohakhali and Sayedabad bus terminals between 9:00ama and 12:00pm, huge rush of home going people was found and most of them expected to get bus but they left Dhaka renting private cars and microbuses and even motorcycles for long journey paying several times higher rent.

‘I live in Dhaka alone and all my family members live in Khulna. I was confined in my Dhaka residence for two months. As the government withdrew ban on private cars, I and one of my friends have rented a car and we are going to my home via Maowa,’ said Hasan Mahmud Rony, a private firm employee at capital’s Mirpur who had been going to his home at Khulna city’s Nirala area.

Individuals were sharing rides to lessen their cost of travel.

‘I have almost no income in Dhaka. I will be able to manage something at my village home to cope with the situation,’ said Abu Hena, 30, who works as a carpenter at capital’s Khilgaon. He and his wife were sharing a private car with another family to go to Paturia.

Hena is from Nawapara, Jashore.

New Age correspondent in Munshiganj, Manikganj, Gazipur and Tangail reported that huge rush of homebound people was seen in the areas on Sunday.

Additional pressure of cars was seen at the highways including Dhaka-Tangail, Dhaka-Aricha, Dhaka-Mymensingh, and Dhaka-Sylhet.

New Age correspondent in Munshiganj, quoting Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation’s Shimulia ghat assistant manager (commerce) Faisal Ahmed, reported that there was a huge rush of private vehicles at the Ghat until 9:00am and later, the situation eased.

The report said that the rush of individuals crossing the River Padma using the ghat was higher and each of the ferries was leaving the ghat with jam-packed people and it was not possible to maintain social distancing there.

Our Manikganj correspondent reported that ferry services at Paturia-Daulatdia routes were busy as huge number of cars started gathering at the ghat since morning.

Besides, huge number of people were seen crossing the River Padma through ferries to reach their destinations in the country’s southern region.

New Age correspondent in Tangail reported that a huge number of people were seen using trucks to go to the northern districts.

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email