Nine of the 33 coronavirus cases detected in Bangladesh involve patients from Shibchar
The people of Shibchar under Madaripur district are obeying the lockdown imposed by the government to prevent the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
They are only going out in case of emergency, and said they just want to protect themselves.
As a result, the entire upazila now appears deserted. Only stores selling essential goods and medicine are open.
Two wards in Shibchar municipality and another five elsewhere – two in Panch Char union, two in Bayratala union and the other in Bashkandi union – have been on lockdown since Thursday.
Nine of 33 coronavirus cases detected in Bangladesh involve patients from Shibchar.
Upazila administration sources said 3,000 people came to Madaripur, from abroad, in the last 14 days. Of them, 664 – mostly from Italy – came to Shibchar.
The local administration expressed its satisfaction, saying people were complying with the government order.
While visiting many areas of the upazila, hardly one or two people were found on the streets. A few were seen in areas on lockdown.
There was limited traffic on the roads, but some rickshaws and vans were seen.
Kashem Mia, a rickshaw puller, told The Business Standard his six-member family depends on his income.
He said it would be difficult to support his family if he stayed at home.
"I am not from the affected areas. No one is in quarantine in my village either. I had to come out to work," said Kashem.
"Yes, I will not come out if the administration bans it. Living is my first priority," he added.
Abul Hossain, a grocery shop owner in Shaheb Bazar, said his sales had decreased by 80 percent after the lockdown was imposed.
"Actually, everyone is scared about coronavirus. They want to protect their lives first," he said.
There are 370,000 people in the 350 square kilometre area of Shibchar. Approximately 80,000 people are now living in the seven wards that are on lockdown, said upazila administration sources.
Rakib Uddin, a youth in one of the affected areas, said he was complying with the government order.
He said he would stay home until the virus went away.
Meanwhile, the local authorities distributed rice and other food items among 500 families in areas on lockdown.
"Many people here are poor. They depend on daily income. Now they cannot sell their labour due to the lockdown. That is why we distributed essentials and food among them," said Upazila Nirbahi Officer Md Asaduzzaman.
"The people did not realise the severity of coronavirus earlier. After patients were detected, they became aware. Now they stay home willingly," he said.
"Daily essential food items are available. There is no chance of a food shortage," he added.
Officer-in-Charge of Shibchar Police Station Abul Kalam Azad said 250 police officials are on duty around-the-clock.
He said an additional police force is at the police station to tackle any emergency.
"We have set up 17 checkpoints across the upazila. We have already ensured that no one roams around aimlessly," he added.