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Weeklong Lockdown: First day was indeed strict

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Rural areas, alleyways see crowds

Army personnel checking whether the occupants of the car have a valid reason to be out during the “strict lockdown” that began yesterday in the capital’s Banani. Police and other law enforcers were also deployed on the streets to enforce the restrictions. Photo: Amran Hossain, Anisur Rahman

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Army personnel checking whether the occupants of the car have a valid reason to be out during the “strict lockdown” that began yesterday in the capital’s Banani. Police and other law enforcers were also deployed on the streets to enforce the restrictions. Photo: Amran Hossain, Anisur Rahman

On the first day of the weeklong nationwide “strict lockdown”, most roads, including that of Dhaka, were eerily quiet with law enforcers going tough on people out without a valid reason.

Yesterday, the country recorded 143 deaths from Covid-19, the highest in a single day since the first cases were reported in March last year.

Several teams of the Army, BGB, Rab, and police, accompanied by executive magistrates, set up check points at various locations in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country and asked people why they were out.

People who were unable to give satisfactory answers were detained or fined.

Most Dhaka dwellers stayed home, respecting the government’s order. The intermittent showers throughout the day also kept some indoors.

Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) yesterday arrested 550 people in Ramna, Lalbagh, Motijheel, Wari, Tejgaon, Mirpur, Gulshan, Uttar and other places in the capital, according to a list issued by the DMP.

It said the detainees failed to provide acceptable reasons for defying the stay-at-home order. The cops also fined 212 people.

At least 274 cars were fined Tk 4.63 lakh and 26 shops Tk 45,557, according to the list.

In Tejgaon area alone, 316 people were detained or fined.

In Mirpur, a 16-year-old was detained when he went out to film how strict the lockdown was.

In Gulshan-2, members of the Army set up a check point and were seen making announcements on megaphones urging people to stay home.

An executive magistrate, who accompanied the team there, said they fined rule violators and cautioned them about health safety rules.

Yesterday, there were no public transport on city streets. Shops and markets along the thoroughfares were closed.

There were police check points at most intersections, including near Prime Minister’s Office, Jahangir Gate, Kakoli, Paltan, Mirpur, Shahbagh, Elephant Road, Dhanmondi, Farmgate, and Gabtoli.

Motijheel and Farmgate, usually very busy, were largely quiet apart from a few rickshaws here and there.

Police and Rab set up separate check points in Shahbagh as the area has some major hospitals.

Many people were seen going to the hospitals on rickshaws and cars. Migrant workers, who have flights in the next few days, were also seen going to the hospitals for their coronavirus test.

Photo: Amran Hossain, Anisur Rahman

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Photo: Amran Hossain, Anisur Rahman

People arriving from abroad faced difficulties getting transport at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport as rental car drivers went on strike after cops fined some vehicles.

They withdrew their strike following assurance from HSIA authorities.

Public transport has been suspended in the country but garment factories have been allowed to stay open, putting its workers in difficulties.

In the morning, hundreds of RMG workers were seen heading to work on foot.

Kitchen markets in the city remained open from 8:00am to 5:00pm.

Although, the streets were almost empty, many alleys of the capital were crowded. Law enforcers were not seen there.

‘STRICT IN TOWNS, SLACK IN RURAL AREAS’

Law enforcers were seen on roads and highways in and around cities and towns outside Dhaka yesterday but they were not seen in the suburbs and rural areas.

In many places people hid only when they saw the policemen.

Rab said their 40 mobile courts fined 182 people Tk 1.32 lakh across the country yesterday.

However, our correspondents in Munshiganj, Patuakhali, Bagerhat, Pabna, reports that many went out without any valid reason despite patrols by the army, police, Rab and mobile courts.

Double Mooring police in Chattogram freed 21 people after they signed an undertaking. They were held after they came out to see the “strict lockdown”.

Mobile courts in the district filed 37 cases and fined people Tk 13,700.

There were barricades on streets in Khulna city’s Royal Mor, Picture Palace Mor, Moylapota, Nirala, Gallamari, Sonadanga Bus Terminal, Daulatpur, Boyra Bazar and Rupsa areas.

Police set up 26 checkpoints in the district.

The “strict lockdown” was largely ignored in rural areas of some districts, reports our correspondents.

During a visit to several villages in Tangail Sadar, including the outskirts of the town, it was found that a large number of people were in the markets without masks and not following health safety directives.

No law enforcers were seen there.

In Narayanganj and Gazipur, the movement of vehicles and people were less than normal since the morning. Only rickshaws were seen on the streets.

The strict lockdown will be enforced until July 7 midnight to curb the spread of coronavirus.

 



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