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Eid preparation horde may worsen pandemic in Bangladesh

Coronavirus will radically spread countrywide if violation of social distancing rules continues in markets, says medical doctor

Md. Kamruzzaman   | 23.05.2020
Eid preparation horde may worsen pandemic in Bangladesh FILE PHOTO

DHAKA, Bangladesh

People in Bangladesh, especially women, have been massively gathering for the Eid al-Fitr shopping, violating social distancing rules, which a medical doctor dubbed destructive amid the country’s rising records of coronavirus.

Until Friday, the South Asian state of 165 million people registered 432 deaths from the fatal virus while the tally of infections surpassed 30,000 mark.

The virus has already reached to the country’s all of 64 districts and the fatality rate is on rise for the last couple of days.

The government imposed countrywide lockdown on March 26 to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus that has also paralyzed the greater parts of the globe.

All sorts of shopping outlets, excluding grocery and vegetable markets, were closed.

After one-and-a-half month, the government on May 10 partially eased the lockdown on the occasion of the Muslims’ biggest religious festival Eid al-Fitr on condition that the social distancing rules and other COVID-19 health guidelines will be strictly maintained.

But, Bangladesh, one of the world's most densely populated countries with more than 1,200 people in per square kilometer, has reportedly failed to maintain social distancing in market places, signaling drastic deterioration of coronavirus outbreak in days ahead.

“I personally visited some markets to buy some essential things and saw people gathering en masse everywhere,” Mohammad Nahiduzzaman Sajjad, a private medical doctor, told Anadolu Agency.

Situation very alarming

Describing the situation “very alarming”, he warned that the virus may rapidly spread in all remote areas of the country.

“In that case minimum treatment for such a huge group of infected patients will be totally impossible. It may collapse the whole health system in the country,” Sajjad said.

Most of the people in Bangladesh, still with more than 26% illiteracy rate, are seemingly very emotional to religious issues even without proper knowledge.

Many people have been ignoring social distancing rules since the very beginning after the first case was recorded on March 8.

The traditional argument of the mass people is that if they are ascertained for the virus by the God, they have no option.

Shapon Mahmud,42, a petty businessman who came to the market on the occasion of Eid, said he mainly buys new cloths for his family members once a year just before the Eid.

“How can I avoid it now when my two small kids are expecting something new from me?”

“Don’t worry. If troubles are sanctioned for me from above, I will suffer,” said uncaring Mahmud as he did not even wear his mask properly and concentrated on his shopping amid the heavy crowd in the country’s new market area.

Almost sounding equal, housewife Tanvir Shahnaj while shopping in the crowded market in the capital Dhaka told Anadolu Agency that she needs to buy some cloths for her two kids.

Urge for categorization

Medical doctor Sajjad urged the government to categorize the country into three zones -- red, yellow and green -- to ensure optimum health service with limited resources.

“We have been already late and the situation is almost out of control,” he said.

Drawing on the gross violation of social distancing rules across the country due to the lack of public awareness and super cyclone Amphan, he said Bangladesh, right after the Eid, may face a catastrophic proportion in the COVID-19 pandemic.

He also recommended to impose shutdown on markets once again until the improvement of prevailing deterioration in the outbreak.

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