Heath guidelines not followed in Public Transports in Bangladesh

A large part of the passengers in public transports is no longer wearing masks. This picture was taken from the Savar area of ​​Dhaka City on November 03, 2020. [Photo: Shafiqul Islam]

The condition of Covid-19 has worsened over time, but the fear of it has disappeared among the countrymen as they’ve shown careless behavior to wear masks while traveling

By Shafiqul Islam

November 03, 2020 | Dhaka, Bangladesh

After a two-month shutdown public transport services in Bangladesh resumed from June 1 with the instructions to ensure physical distance, wear facemasks and other safety measures. But after four months of resuming, these regulations are missed out from practices.

As the government has lifted the restrictions over workplaces people too are returning to ‘normal’ from the ‘new normal’. The public transports, where half of the passengers aren’t wearing masks, shows a picture of this ‘back to the normal’ scenario.

Iqbal Karim, a sales representative of Reimy cosmetics, doesn’t wear a facemask in the bus while going to his workplace on Tuesday noon. 

He said he doesn’t believe that Corona will affect him as he is a hardworking person.

“If Corona will come to me then this mask can’t save me. So why I put it on my face?” Iqbal said.     

For a city of over 20 million people, it is very risky to travel on a public bus without wearing a face mask during this COVID-19 period. This picture was taken from the Savar area of Dhaka on November 03, 2020. [Photo: Shafiqul Islam]

Another passenger of Thikana Bus, Selina Khatun – an RMG worker – said, “I can’t breathe when I wear a mask. I know it’s important and have tried to wear a mask while travelling, but can’t manage all the time.”  

But some person like Ashikul Islam – who is a corporate official – strictly follows the safety measures.

Ashikul said, “Mask is the most important protection from COVID-19 infections. I’ve been following this safety rules from the very beginning.”

“It’s not only my observation, there have some studies also that says face mask can protect ourselves from COVID-19,” he added.

Some drivers and their associates said to this reporter that since last one month almost half of the passengers aren’t wearing facemasks while travelling their bus.

Muhammad Sahidullah, a driver of Thikana Bus Service, said, “I have 45 seats in my bus, among them, on an average 25-30 passenger wear masks. Only the office-going passengers wear masks while most of the rest don’t bother with it.”

Only office-going passengers are used to wear masks while traveling where ordinary passengers somehow want to avoid masks. [Photo: Shafiqul Islam]

Some bus drivers have also seen not wearing facemasks.

While asking about them Altaf Hossen, a Manager of D-link Bus Service, said, “Drivers and their helpers are instructed to wear masks. But some of them aren’t follow the instructions.”

“As it isn’t possible for us to check everyone all the time, passengers can force them (driver-helpers) to wear mask. But the fact is, most passengers also don’t wear masks,” he added.

The government is trying to get vaccines within a very short time. But the most effective solution that we have in our hands is – mask, mask and mask. 

Public health experts shows their concerns regarding not wearing masks while travelling via public transport.

Tajuddin Sikder, associate professor of Public health department at Jahangirnagar University, said, “We are slowly moving towards herd immunity. But the way people walk around without masks is very alarming and it only can increase the graph of COVID-19.”

He emphasizes on wearing masks as a topmost priority.

“The government is trying to get vaccine within a very short time. But the most effective solution that we have in our hand is – mask, mask and mask,” Tajuddin said.   

Red Crescent Society has initiated a mask-distributing program among citizens in Dhaka to raise awareness among them [Photo: Shafiqul Islam]

Law enforcement agencies have been working as per the government’s decision on implementing laws to wear masks.

Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), Walid Hossen, said, “The government has enacted a law to wear masks and we have regular actions under the magistrates. These actions are intended to make people aware of rather than punish them.”

“But if people aren’t aware of themselves, we can’t force them to wear masks just by showing fear. People have to wear masks for their own sake,” he added.