Social distancing measures are being largely ignored as passengers start travelling by launch from Barishal river port today.
The launch services resumed today after weeks of closure. Before resuming, owners had promised they would stick to safety rules which includes social distancing, providing hand sanitisers and making sure everyone wears face mask.
But there have been numerous instances where health safety rules were violated, our Barishal correspondent reports after visiting the Barishal river port.
Some passengers were seen travelling without a face mask and many more were seen crowding and failing to maintain social distancing protocols.
At least three launches left Barishal for Dhaka today and tickets for cabins to all three launches were sold out and the decks were also crowded with passengers.
Authorities of Sundarban-11 were the only ones who provided hand sanitisers, installed a disinfection tunnel and placed temperature detectors, the correspondent says.
Saiful Alam, a passenger on board Sundarban-11, said he is having to travel to Dhaka as his office will start soon.
"We asked all launch owners to ensure social distancing and to implement other necessary health safety measures," said Ajmol Huda Mitu, assistant director of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) in Barishal.
Passenger flow is likely to increase after two to three days, said Riazul Karim, owner of Surovi launch.
Launch services were suspended on March 24, two days before the government announced closure of most public and private offices and all public transport to contain the spread of Covid-19.
On Thursday, the government announced that public transport services can be operated on a limited scale while maintaining health safety guidelines.