Khulna residents pay little heed to health guidelines
Large crowds were seen at different places in Khulna city, right after the lockdown was relaxed. Gatherings were especially visible at clothing, cattle and wholesale markets yesterday.
Traffic jams were observed at various points -- including Sonadanga bus terminal, Rupsha ghat, Daulatpur and Gallamary bus stands, and Zero Point -- which must be passed to go from Khulna to other parts of the country.
A number public transport vehicles were seen carrying half the capacity of passengers, but many took more people as well.
Almost all buses heading to Mongla port and Bagerhat violated health rules. Bus drivers and helpers were seen calling passengers to fill all seats.
Dr M Sohidullah, a lecturer of microbiology and public health at Khulna Agricultural University, told The Daily Star, "I was trying to board a Rajshahi-bound bus from Daulatpur bus stand, but almost all buses are already full of passengers."
"Very few buses are following the half-capacity rule," said Sohidullah, who was waiting at the stand for two hours.
"I have to go to my native village, though safety is my first priority," he added.
Most of the city's big markets and shopping malls -- including Newmarket, Khulna Shopping Complex, Boro Bazar, Akhter Chamber and Nixon market -- were packed with customers, but health rules were not followed.
Habibur Rahman, a resident of the city's Bastuhara area, who came to Nixon Market, told The Daily Star that most people did not pay heed to the guidelines.
"I am yet to see law enforcers maintaining physical distancing or health guidelines," he said.
In most cases, market authorities did not allow people to enter markets without masks. However, some were seen walking around without masks, and some had masks in their hands or just covering the chin.
Rupsha Bazar, Moylapota Bazar, Gallamari Bazar, Ferryghat Sanitary Market, New Market, Baro Bazar and Dakbangla also witnessed large crowds.
Easy-bikes, CNG-run autorickshaws and other three-wheelers were plying the streets, ignoring health guidelines. Inter-district transport vehicles were seen leaving Sonadanga bus stand, and long-distance buses, including those going to Dhaka, started their journey from Royal Junction.
Jahangir Alam Khandaker Dara, manager of Eagle Paribahan at Royal Junction, said passengers are very much available as expected.
Meanwhile, a cattle market was inaugurated at Joragate yesterday. Khulna City Corporation is operating it.
Sacrificial animals have started coming from different places, and buyers are also gathering. But health rules were not being followed.
Shamsuzzaman Mia Swapan, convener of the market's management committee, told The Daily Star that mandatory face-mask and disinfectant use, and social distancing will be given top priority.
"We are working towards that goal," he said.
The government announced to relax the strict countrywide lockdown from July 14 midnight till 8am on July 23. However, some restrictions are still in place.
Although, lockdown had been in place in Khulna since June 14.