Images of people crowding onto buses, trains and ferries in defiance of orders to stay home have caused fury in Bangladesh.
The exodus out of the capital Dhaka on Tuesday came after the government announced a 10-day nationwide holiday and asked people to stay indoors to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Photographs of overloaded ferries and buses went viral on social media with critical comments pouring in.
“Quarantine and isolation, Bangladesh-style,” ridiculed Sirajul Hossain, a Facebook user, below the photograph that shows a packed ferry leaving a station near Dhaka.
Irritated by the mad rush, a senior official said the holiday was not given for enjoyment.
“The world’s main principal is staying at home to stop the spread of coronavirus. If you do otherwise, you will put yourself at risk as well as create threat for thousands of others,” Ahmad Kaikaus, secretary to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, said in a video message.
Army troops fanned out across Bangladesh on Tuesday to help enforce measures to slow the spread of the virus, as the South Asian nation reported 39 cases and four virus-related deaths.
Long-distance bus, train and ferry services will also be restricted and all domestic flights suspended in a bid
to limit citizens’ movements.
“We have decided to lock down the public transport services for 10 days from Thursday in consideration of public safety,” Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said in a video message.
Bangladesh has reported its fourth death from Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, and six new infections, raising the total number of cases to 39.
Forty other suspected cases were in isolation units at hospitals across the country, said Meerjady Sabrina Flora, spokesperson for the country’s Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research.
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