Social distancing and Covid-19 transmission are evidently not high on the list of concerns. For these workers, at an iron foundry in Shyampur, the most pressing issue in life is earning the basic living that would allow them to put food on the table back home.
They had endured untold hardships when this foundry, among around 20 in the area employing more than 5,000 such workers, had been closed during the countrywide shutdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While the wider world battles fears of Covid-19, these workers fear not being able to earn the Tk 10,000-15,000 they get per month working in harsh conditions that would necessitate masks even without Covid-19.
But they are seen without masks or any other protective equipment when working in close proximity with each other. Even when eating, they do so with hands covered in a thick film of metal shavings.
"Allah protects us poor folk from coronavirus," was the response from most workers when asked if they were afraid of working without protection.