The Financial Express

Shoppers, traders equally non-compliant with market health rules

| Updated: May 05, 2021 13:50:46

NO COVID-19 FEAR: Sellers and buyers going about their business at Karwan Bazar kitchen market in the city on Tuesday, paying no heed to mask mandate or social distancing norms — FE photo by KAZ Sumon NO COVID-19 FEAR: Sellers and buyers going about their business at Karwan Bazar kitchen market in the city on Tuesday, paying no heed to mask mandate or social distancing norms — FE photo by KAZ Sumon

Despite repeated warnings, health safety rules were hardly followed by people in shopping malls and markets, raising concern among healthcare professionals over further deterioration of the Covid-19 pandemic situation.

Not only the shoppers but also the shop operators in large numbers were found non-compliant in following the hygiene rules, although the government allowed reopening of shops on condition of maintaining all the health guidelines.

Even some shopping malls did not use any disinfecting liquid, temperature measuring device and separate passage for incoming and outgoing customers.

On the other hand, shop owners, who were crying for reopening of their outlets by maintaining hygiene rules a few weeks ago, did not maintain the health guidelines. Rather, they were busy dealing with increased number of customers.

The FE correspondent found the scenario after visiting several markets including New Super Market, Gausia, Chadni Chawk, Bashundhara Shopping Complex, New China Market, Eastern Plaza and Khilgaon Taltola markets.

Healthcare professionals were worried over frequent violations of the lockdown rules in the city, saying that these could further deteriorate the Covid situation here.

People, without wearing masks and maintaining social distance, were seen thronging the shopping areas to buy necessary stuffs ahead of the Eid-ul-Fitr, enhancing the risk of infection.

Md. Junayed Hasan, who came to buy clothes for his family in New Super Market, said he came to the market for Eid shopping. But the huge crowd forced him to go back home, as the chance of being infected was too high there.

"Look at the people. Many of them are not using masks, while some have masks but they're not wearing those properly. This is very scary," he said before moving towards a rickshaw.

Md Mamun, salesman at Hoque Baby Collection, said they got tired for repeatedly requesting the people coming to the shop to maintain safety rules, which were mostly ignored. The salesman used the mask properly before talking to the correspondent.

"The shop does not have enough space to allow customers maintain social distance, and the pressure of buyers is quite high. So, it becomes tough to maintain all health protocols," he added.

The situation was almost the same in other shops and markets across the capital.

A disinfectant spraying tunnel was found in front of Eastern Plaza shopping mall. But it was not functioning properly, while the customers could enter the market without screening their temperature.

When contacted, the mall authorities rejected the allegations of non-compliance, saying that they ensured all the safety protocols for all.

Things also changed quickly soon after the approach by the correspondent, as a man and woman came with a temperature-measuring device and disinfectant spraying bottle at the entrance.

Meanwhile, Bangladesh Dokan Malik Samity, an association of shop owners, temporarily shut China Town shopping mall in the capital's Paltan area on the day due to negligence in following Covid health guidelines.

The association's president Mohammad Helal Uddin confirmed the move, saying that the market would be reopened later, if the hygiene rules were properly followed there.

"It's a message to all the errant markets in the country. Ensure the hygiene rules, otherwise face closure. We don't want to compromise with the deadly viral disease," he added.

Simultaneously, mobile courts also fined some people in Bashundhara Shopping Mall for not following Covid safety rules.

However, sixty-one people died from the Covid-19 and 1,914 others got infected afresh with the virus in Bangladesh during the last 24 hours until 8:0am on Tuesday.

With the latest daily count, total fatalities from the Covid-19 stood at 11,705, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).

However, the Covid-19 test positivity rate, which has been on a downward trend over the last few days, was reported at 8.71 per cent on Tuesday.

A total of 21,984 samples were tested, including antigen-based rapid tests, while 21,914 samples were collected across the country during the last 24-hour reporting time, said a DGHS press release.

A total of 3,870 people recovered from the coronavirus disease in the country during the said period.

The rate of recovery from the coronavirus disease was reported at 90.78 per cent on the day, according to the DGHS.

However, the rate of fatalities from the Covid-19 inched up to 1.53 per cent on Tuesday from the previous day's 1.52 per cent, it added.

According to the official data, the total Covid-19 cases have so far reached 765,596 in Bangladesh, and out of them, 695,032 have recovered from the deadly disease.

On the other hand, nearly 5.54 million samples have been tested in the country since the virus was detected here in March last year, the DGHS figures showed.

Meanwhile, a total of 83,540 people received the 2nd dose of vaccine across the country on Tuesday - outof them, 52,447 were men and 31,093 women.

With these, the government has so far administered more than 8.926 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccines - both 1st and 2nd doses - acrossthe country since the mass vaccination programme was launched in the country on February 7 last.

However, nearly 7.25 million people got registered for receiving the Covid-19 vaccine until 5:30 pm on April 8.

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