Bangladesh could be staring at another wave of coronavirus cases as thousands of people left capital Dhaka for their home districts ignoring the government’s restrictions on movement and risks of infection.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) suspended ferry services on Shimulia-Kathalbari river route in Munshiganj at 3pm to stop the people from travelling amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Meanwhile, BIWTA suspended ferry services on Paturia-Daulatdia route in Manikganj at noon but resumed it after six hours.
Thousands of people of southern region started heading home ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr using these river routes.
In the morning, Mawa ferry terminal turned into a sea of people around 10am.
People avoided the highway and walked for about two kilometres to the terminal through alternative roads in villages, UNB Munshiganj correspondent reports.
Four large ferries became unable to carry vehicles due to massive pressure of people and the situation deteriorated at noon, forcing BIWTC to suspend ferry services.
Md Shafiqul Islam, assistant general manager of BIWTC, said the decision was taken after consulting the Ministry of Shipping.
“Until further notification, ferry will carry only ambulances carrying bodies,” he said adding that goods-laden trucks also will not be permitted to cross the river.
On Paturia-Daulatdia route, the ferry services resumed at 6pm after a six-hour suspension.
Mohiuddin Russel, deputy manager of BIWTC’s Paturia terminal, said the authorities suspended ferry services around noon due to excessive pressure of vehicles.
Ferry services resumed at 6pm as over a thousand private cars got stuck at the terminal area in Manikganj.
Six ferries started carrying goods laden trucks and ambulances, he added.
On Sunday, Inspector General of Police Benazir Ahmed directed police to take steps so that people cannot leave or enter Dhaka ahead of Eid.
He also urged people not to go to their village homes from the capital and other cities during and follow the health guidelines during the pandemic.