Growing evidence of the coronavirus SARS CoV-2 permeating communities throughout the length and breadth of the country has hardly dampened the public’s enthusiasm for spending the Eid ul Fitr holidays at home with their families.
For vast segments of the workforce engaged in the country’s urban centres, and particularly capital Dhaka, this means away from where they spend the majority of each year, triggering the familiar mass exodus from cities around this time.
This year with the pandemic, the scientific advice is to not only avoid travelling across district lines, but even to avoid going out unless absolutely necessary - ‘shelter in place’, i.e. stay where you are.
The authorities had initially placed a ban on Eid journeys, while the law enforcers also came up for strict controlling of vehicles on the highways. Earlier on Tuesday, police sent back homebound people who thronged the Mawa ferry terminal area for crossing Padma to the capital.
But then the government backtracked from its strict position and allowed Eid journeys in private vehicles keeping the public transport movement suspended. On Friday, the government opened the ferry services on Shimulia-Kathalbari river route and permitted people to cross the river and go home to celebrate Eid.
The change in the government’s stance has been interpreted as a green signal on all fronts to the home-going people, according to advocacy group Jatri Kalyan Samity, who have termed the relaxation ‘a suicidal move’ that would lead to more outbreaks occurring all over the nation.
Homebound journeys continued to pick up on Saturday, even as the country reported the highest single-day spike in new coronavirus cases.
Ignoring the risk of COVID-19 infection, thousands of people of southern part of the country crossed Padma River in the morning, aiming to celebrate Eid with family in the districts and villages of the hinterland that have so far been spared the worst of the epidemic in Bangladesh
Eid-ul-Fitr will be celebrated on Monday as Shawwal moon was not sighted at any place in 64 districts, said Md Nurul Islam, secretary for the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
The country reported the highest number of coronavirus cases-1,873 on Saturday, when thousands went home to celebrate Eid amid the high risk of infection.
The homebound have literally no scope to maintain physical distance while getting on the ferry on Mawa terminal in Munshiganj.
People rushed to board the ferry at any cost at Mawa ferry terminal on Saturday morning ignoring the risk of coronavirus infection.
A ferry, packed with thousands of people and some private cars, crossing Padma on Saturday ignoring high risk of coronavirus infection.
The eldest son of a family carries his young brother, while other family members walk alongside them at Mawa ferry terminal before travelling home to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr.