On the fourth day of the weeklong lockdown, droves of Khulna city residents gathered and crowded at kitchen markets, ignoring health guidelines amid an increasingly worsening situation.
In the last couple of weeks, Khulna has become the worst Covid-affected district in the country. The numbers of deaths and positive cases have been spiralling. Three Covid hospitals in Khulna, including Khulna Medical College Hospital, have patients either above capacity or almost at capacity.
Visiting different areas yesterday, including Dakbangla intersection, Rupsha Ghat and Moylapota intersection, this correspondent saw a number of private vehicles plying the road.
Traffic in the city, however, was relatively low.
Office-going people have been seen
traveling on bicycles, motorbikes and private cars. At some areas like Daulatpur, Boyra and Gallamary, people of all backgrounds were out and about, stating different reasons or excuses for leaving their homes.
Almost all kitchen markets of Boyra, Gallamary and Daulatpur were crowded from the morning. Kitchen markets are allowed to stay open till 2 pm.
Md Saddam Hossain, a resident of Boyra who came to the market around 10:30am with his child, told The Daily Star that there was nothing to cook at his house, so he went there.
When asked why he brought his son during the lockdown, he replied that the child was determined to go with him, so the father could not convince him to stay home.
Battery-run rickshaws and easy-bikes were running on different roads. Due to lack of vehicles, many people were seen riding on rickshaw-vans to reach their destinations. Around one-third of people were seen wandering around without face-mask.
However, long-distance public transport was suspended, and all types of shops were closed at New Market, Shivbari intersection, Sonadanga and Moylapota intersection.
A significant number of law enforcement personnel had to patrol the streets.
Habibur Rahman, a resident of Bastuhara area, told The Daily Star that the government should have enforced the lockdown earlier, as the virus has already spread to rural areas.
"People are not taking the situation seriously. Why they are coming out? They're out for no reason," he said. "The government should be stricter about maintaining the lockdown properly," he added.
Putul Khatun, a day labourer at Khalishpur Crescent mill area, said after one year, following the shutdown of nine state-run jute mills, she along with others have been working as day labourers. "But suddenly, the strict lockdown forced us to stay home. How will I live? I'm didn't get a single taka from anyone last year."
"My four-member family is in a destitute condition now. We are starving," she said.
Meanwhile, Ariful Islam, executive magistrate of Khulna district administration, said there are six mobile courts operating in Khulna city.
"Every day, we are operating at different points to maintain health guidelines and the lockdown," he said.
About kitchen markets, he said authorities will carry out drives at the locations to ensure social distancing.
According to the health department, 23 people died in the division yesterday; seven of them in the district.
A total of 176 positive cases were identified yesterday in the district, bringing the infection rate to 54.82 percent.
In Khulna district, a total of 233 people died till yesterday. In the division, till yesterday, 916 people died, and of them, 164 died in the last seven day (June 19-25).