Update March 19, 2020

Dhaka 11-06 pm, 18-September, 2021

People throng shopping malls, markets ignoring warnings over coronavirus

Online Desk

Even though the government and experts urged people to avoid public gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19), many people are thronging shopping malls and kitchen markets in the city.

Doctors and experts said crowded places increase the risk of people-to-people transmission of the virus. People have been advised to maintain a safe distance from their family members if they are affected by coronavirus.

But several shopping malls and kitchen markets of the city on Wednesday were crowded with people purchasing various products and daily essentials.

Rabia Khatun, 50, a housewife, told UNB that she came to Mouchak Market with her two daughters and a granddaughter to purchase apparel and ornaments.

“I took them with me as their educational institutions have been closed,” she said.

Asked why she came to the market in such a situation, Rabia argued that it has not deteriorated to a point that they cannot come to the market.

Azizur Rahman, 38, said he bought a jeans pant and a T-shirt from Bangabazar on Wednesday afternoon. “I’m a private job holder. So, I’ve to go to office daily in any situation. Today, I purchased these on the way home from Lalbagh,” he added.

Biswajit Pal said he came to Kaptanbazar Kitchen market to purchase daily essentials.

“Today, I bought onions and fish from the kitchen market. We don’t have option but to purchase goods for consumption,” he added.

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Biswajit said his wife urged him to buy goods as much as possible as coronavirus can push up the prices of different goods.

But Humayun Kabir, a shopkeeper, said the number of his customers dropped compared to previous weeks.

“Many customers are going home but the rest of customers are coming and purchasing goods. Many are buying more to stockpile fearing price hike following the detection of Coronavirus cases and ahead of Ramadan,” he added.

Humayun said each kg rice price increased Tk 5 compared to last week.

Prof Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), on Wednesday said one person died from coronavirus in Bangladesh while four more have tested positive, taking the number of cases to 14.

“As coronavirus is contagious, awareness is very important. Public gathering should be avoided now,” she said.

Covid-19, which was first reported in China, has so far affected 204,044 people globally and killed 8,232 with a fatality rate of 9 percent. So far, 82,866 people have recovered. The virus is currently affecting 170 countries and territories.

Former lead economist at the World Bank, Dr Zahid Hussain, said the government should closely monitor every sector to avert a disastrous situation.

“More awareness should be raised among people. The government should now put more emphasis on hospital, doctors, nurses and treatment equipment. Doctors and nurses should be trained up as well. Besides, the involvement of private hospitals is needed to prevent the coronavirus impact in the country,” Zahid told UNB.

The noted economist said the World Bank Group has announced making available an initial package of up to $12 billion in immediate support to assist countries coping with the health and economic impacts of coronavirus outbreak.

“Now our government should take prepared programmes identifying fields in which the fund will be used properly. Water supply is very important to keep everything clean. The government should particularly make a strategy to tackle the vast impact on the economy of Bangladesh in near future,” he added.

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