Launch and train services resumed on a limited scale Sunday after nearly two months being suspended to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease.
However, buses and other vehicles will start plying highways from Monday, keeping upto 50 percent of their seats empty.
The government declared general holidays from March 26 and suspended mass transport to tackle coronavirus outbreak and suspension of plying the public transport was extended till May 30 in several phases.
Sources at the Sadarghat Launch terminal told UNB that 36 launches arrived and left the terminal till Sunday evening.
“Around 36 passengers' launches have arrived and left the Sadarghat launch terminal till 7:00 pm. Another 30 are scheduled to leave the terminal for different destinations till 2:30 am tonight,” said Alamgir Kabir, joint director of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) at the terminal.
When asked whether the passengers are maintaining government’s directed health guidelines, he said around 80 percent passengers have been maintaining the health guidelines. “However, we are trying to motivate so that most of the passengers follow the guidelines,” Alamgir said.
State minister for Shipping Ministry Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury inspected the overall preparations for launch movement and passengers’ safety at the terminal.
Talking to reporters after visiting the terminal, he said six disinfectant tunnels have been set up at Sadarghat Launch Terminal, aiming to ensure safe journey of launch passengers amid the coronavirus pandemic. Besides, 14 more tunnels will be set up in phases, he said.
A total of eight pairs of intercity trains arrived at Kamalapur railway station and left the station for different destinations on Sunday, ‘fully maintaining’ government’s health guidelines.
First train Banalata Express left the station for Chapainawabganj at noon, while first train Kalni Express from Sylhet arrived in the morning, said Officer-in-charge of Kamalapur Railway police station Raqibul Hossain.
“All the passengers have been maintaining health guidelines as part of preventing coronavirus spread,” the OC said.
Bangladesh Railway started selling tickets through online from Friday noon to avoid health risks.
The government on Thursday issued a gazette notification allowing limited operation of public transport and offices from May 31 to June 15 amid the coronavirus outbreak.
It said public transports – buses, trains, and vessels – will have to maintain health guidelines.
All government, semi-government and autonomous offices will resume under self-management but ailing staff and pregnant women have been asked to refrain from joining work, the notification said.
Bangladesh saw its biggest daily jump in the number of new coronavirus cases and deaths on Sunday as record 40 patients died and 2, 545 got infected in the span of 24 hours .
“The death toll stood at 650 as Bangladesh has recorded 40 deaths in the last 24 hours and it is the highest ever deaths in the country,” said Additional Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Prof Dr Nasima Sultana at its daily health bulletin.
In the meantime, the health authorities confirmed detection of record 2,545 new cases, taking the number of confirmed cases in the country to 47,153.