As the number of returnees from countries at high risk of coronavirus keeps rising, the administration is finding it difficult to ensure they abide by home quarantine guidelines.
In the absence of a strict vigilance, many of the individuals told to self-quarantine are moving around at will, posing a risk of further spreading the deadly virus.
Law enforcement agencies said it is impossible for them to ensure full-time vigilance of the quarantined people as they lack the necessary manpower to do this task alongside their regular duties.
Sources at Daulatpur police station in Manikganj said 38 foreign-returnees were placed under home quarantine after the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus. The number of quarantined people currently stands at 22.
Mentioning the total number of police personnel at the police station is around 50, the police station sources claimed it is difficult for this small number of people to ensure constant vigilance over the quarantined individuals – as they have other duties to perform.
Expressing a similar view, Officer-in-Charge of Kotwali police station Anwarul Haque told The Business Standard because the limited number of officials at the police station cannot keep watch over the 38 quarantined people in the upazila all the time, they are maintaining constant communication with the neighbours of the people under quarantine.
"Whenever we are informed that one of the quarantined people is violating the quarantine guidelines, our police force takes immediate action against them," he added.
While talking to The Business Standard on Friday, the deputy commissioners (DCs) and district superintendents of police (SPs) of Cumilla, Manikganj, and Chandpur, however, expressed their firm commitment that they will enforce the quarantined people to follow quarantine guidelines.
They added quarantined people who are moving around, flouting the home quarantine guidelines, are already being punished by mobile courts as per the Communicable Diseases Prevention, Control and Eradication Law, 2018.
According to the law, a magistrate can fine an individual from Tk10,000 to Tk25,000 for violating the guidelines of home quarantine.
Cumilla SP Syed Nurul Islam said as many as 14,483 Bangladeshi nationals have returned to the district from various countries, in the last 15 days, and that most of them have come from high-risk countries.
The police administration has sent this list to the deputy commissioner, civil surgeon, and other law enforcement agencies, he noted.
Manikganj SP Rifat Rahman said they have prepared a list of 575 people who are under home quarantine.
Many of them are under quarantine on their own efforts, he said, adding the police are forcing those who disobey instructions to follow the quarantine guidelines.
"We cannot put everyone at risk because of the carelessness of one individual," he said.
Chandpur DC Mazedur Rahman Khan said many of those who are not adhering to home quarantine guidelines have been punished, while the others are being monitored strictly.
"Police officials are working with us," he concluded.