Dozens of youths from different social and cultural groups have lately taken part in awareness building campaigns across the city
"Please stay at home and do not go out unnecessarily. If you have to go out, maintain social distancing," Ashraful Kabir announced over the loudspeaker near Rikabi Bazar in Sylhet city.
He was also asking people to frequently wash their hands.
In the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic, Ashraful, a well-known local environmentalist, has been announcing such awareness messages in different parts of the city for three days.
While he was busy doing this on Wednesday, a group of young men and women nearby were distributing face masks and hand sanitisers for free.
They are local cultural activists who used their own contributions to buy cleanliness products and distribute them among people doing low-paid jobs.
They also distributed soap and leaflets containing awareness messages in slums.
Dozens of youths from different social and cultural groups have lately taken part in awareness building campaigns across the city.
They have been volunteering because many people are ignoring calls from the health authorities to maintain precautions in order to contain the spread of the deadly coronavirus.
The number of such volunteers is growing as many are joining the initiatives after being inspired by seeing others in action.
Some youths – all members of a volunteer organisation named Positive Generation of Society – were spraying disinfectants in vehicles and also on passengers in the Zindabazar area.
The organisation's coordinator Chowdhury Jharna said it was important to spray disinfectants in buses and cars as germs can stay there.
"Many people have recently returned from abroad here, but they are not following the home quarantine guidelines properly. This is increasing the risk of the virus spreading in our area, and that is why we took the cleanliness initiative," she explained.
This will continue in the future as well, she said. Positive Generation of Society has produced 2,000 masks which it plans to distribute in hospitals and among the poor. We also plan to distribute food among low-income groups, Jhorna added.
Cultural activist Humayun Kabir Jewel said awareness and cleanliness were key in the fight against coronavirus. We are promoting these concepts, he said.
While the altruists are busy on the streets, a team of students and teachers are working hard at the Shahjalal University of Science and Technology laboratory to make hand sanitisers for people who live hand to mouth.
They are volunteering even though the university and the dormitories are closed in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. Dr Gokul Chandra Biswas, assistant professor of the genetic engineering and biotechnology department, leads the team.
He said the students were self-motivated to make hand sanitisers. There are also chemistry students in the group, Gokul added.
Youths in small towns in the upazilas have also carried out similar street campaigns. In Jaintapur, a group of students have made 1,000 bottles of hand sanitiser with funding from the local transport owners' association. They started distributing these on Wednesday in the upazila.
In addition to volunteer organisations, some political groups have also initiated awareness campaigns.