Law enforcers literally scrambled to impose Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in Dhaka on Wednesday, as the capital witnessed some rush-hour traffic in the morning.
Though public transport vehicles stayed off the capital roads, police and armed forces personnel were seen flagging down several private cars and people they thought had stepped out for frivolous reasons on the 13th day of the countrywide strict lockdown aimed at reducing the Covid-19 contagion risk.
The police imposed fines on commuters who failed to produce proper documents in support of their "emergency travel", while those with valid papers were allowed to go. Many without supporting documents bridled at such restrictions, resulting in heated exchange of words with cops.
In fact, RAB and Army personnel patrolling the streets of Dhaka, alongside the local police, have set up check-posts in different areas of the city.
At some places, traffic congestion was seen between 8.30 am and 11.30 am.
Traffic inspector Akther Hossain (Uttara Rajlaxmi), said, “The pressure of private vehicles is higher than that of Tuesday, but we are only allowing those with valid reasons to travel."
"Cases are also being filed against violators. Mobile courts are also slapping fines on lockdown violators," he said.
In fact, people’s movement has significantly risen as export-oriented industries have started operations, the inspector said.
"Ambulances and people going out for taking Covid jabs are being allowed to travel," Akther said.
The nationwide lockdown, first imposed for 14-days until August 5, has now been extended for another five days till August 10 amid a surge in the Delta variant of Covid-19 infections across the country.
Liberation War Affairs Minister AKM Mozammel Haque announced the decision of the government to reporters after an inter-ministerial meeting on Tuesday.
He said shops, factories and offices would be allowed to reopen from August 11, "while public transport can ply roads on a limited scale once the lockdown is over".
Amid the merciless onslaught of Covid-19 in Bangladesh, the country recorded 236 more deaths linked to the virus in 24 hours till Tuesday morning.
According to a handout issued by the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), 15,776 more people came out positive with the virus during the period after the test of 55,284 samples.
The fresh numbers pushed the country’s death tally to 21,397 on Tuesday, with the caseload mounting to 1,296,093.
Meanwhile, the daily test positivity rate fell to 28.58 % from Monday's 29.91%, while the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a 5% or below rate.
The country has been seeing over 14,300 cases and 230 deaths every day on an average for the last seven days.