A large number of people gathered at Paturia-Daulatdia ferry ghat in their desperate bid to go home to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr amid coronavirus risk, thanks to slack monitoring by the local administration.
People in their thousands thronged the ferry ghat since morning to cross the mighty river with the resumption of ferry services after two days’ halt.
Some were seen coming to the terminal by private cars, microbuses, pick-up vans and motorbikes amid restrictions on movement of transports for over two months to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Zillur Rhman, deputy manager of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA), Aricha ghat, said the ferry services on Daulatdia-Paturia route resumed on Thursday night following the directives of the higher authorities concerned after the suspension of the services for the last two days due to the cyclone Amphan.
Trucks and goods-laden vehicles were crossing the river from Thursday night while some private vehicles were allowed to cross the river in ferries from 9 am on Friday, he said.
Those who gathered in the area to cross the river have been asked to maintain social distancing and 50-60 people were allowed to cross the river, he added.
The authorities concerned are operating 16 ferries now.
Tania Sultana, superintendent of Shibalaya circle at Paturia Ghat, said, “A number of goods-laden vehicles were stranded in the ghat area following the suspension of the ferry services and they are allowing private vehicles to cross the river as per the directive from the higher officials concerned.”
Begum Kamrunnahar Putul, a former Awami League MP, died at Bogura Shaheed Ziaur Rahman Medical College and Hospital on Thursday night.
The former MP (reserved seat), aged about 65, had been suffering from fever and diarrhoea for the last three days and she recently visited the house of his son in the capital, said family sources.
Kamrunnahar, also the wife of former MP of Awami League Mostafizur Rahman Patal, breathed her last around 11:30 pm when she was taken to the hospital, said Dr Samir Hossain Mishu, health and family planning officer of Sadar upazila health complex.
A medical team took her samples for coronavirus test.
Kamrunnahar was elected AL MP (reserved seat) in 19996 from Bogura-Joypurhat district.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed shock at her death.
A Municipality mayor was among 19 persons newly infected with coronavirus in Patuakhali, Barishal and Kishoreganj in the last 24 hours until Thursday night.
Patuakhali Municipality Mayor Mohiuddin Ahmed and five others tested positive for coronavirus, said Civil Surgeon Mohammad Jahangir Alam.
In Kishoreganj, nine more people were diagnosed with coronavirus. The district now has 262 confirmed cases.
Civil Surgeon Dr Md Mujibur Rahman said the test results of the patients came after his death.
In Barishal, sources at Civil Surgeon Office said four more got infected with coronavirus, taking the total number to 125 in the district.
So far, 41 people have fully recovered.
Bangladesh on Thursday confirmed record number of new coronavirus cases — 1,773 – and 22 deaths in the span of 24 hours.
The country has so far reported 28,511 cases and recorded 408 deaths.
Hundreds of commuters gathered at Paturia ferry terminal on Thursday in a mad rush to go home ahead of Eid-ul Fitr defying the government’s restrictions over the coronavirus outbreak.
Escaping all kinds of police bars many gathered at the ferry ghat reaching by foot but are struggling to cross the river as the ferry operations remained suspended.
Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC) suspended ferry services on Monday to stop people from travelling home amid the pandemic.
As Cyclone Amphan that hit the coastal region of the country on Wednesday and weakened on Thursday, a large number of home goers started boarding engine-run boats or trawlers to cross the Padma River, witnesses said.
Law enforcers have installed check-posts at different points of the highway and are restricting all kind of passenger laden transports to prevent the transmission of the virus, said Tania Sultana, Assistant Superintendent of Police.
“But passengers are skillfully escaping the restrictions,” she added.
Many trawlers and boats were also fined for operating defying the government ban, she said.
Meanwhile, the country confirmed coronavirus cases surged to 28,511 with the detection of 1773 more new cases in the span of 24 hours on Thursday.
Besides, the fast spreading virus claimed 22 more lives during the same period, raising the coronavirus death toll in the country to 408.
Another policeman died from coronavirus while performing duties in Chattogram.
Md Mukhlesur Rahman, constable of Chattogram court police was taken to Chattogram Medical College around 3am on Tuesday with the tell-tale symptoms of Covid-19, but within two hours he was dead.
Posthumously, his sample tested positive for the coronavirus, said Subrata Banarjee, inspector of court police.
With the death of the constable Mukhlesur, a total of 10 policemen across the nation have died from the virus infection.
Mukhlesur left behind his wife, three daughters and a son.
His body was buried at the family graveyard at Tamta village of Shahrasti upazila in Chandpur district.