“Lockdowns cannot be implemented by the health ministry alone. Lockdown means everybody will remain indoors unless they need to get some emergency things. But citizens do not want to obey the rules,” she said
It seems nobody knows what to do and nobody is listening to anybody as far as quarantining the air passengers is concerned.
Some 2,371 passengers on different flights landed at Dhaka in 24 hours until 8am yesterday. None of them was sent to the mandatory quarantine. All they got was a stamp on their arms "Proud to protect Bangladesh: Home quarantine" and let go.
But the High Court only the day before had issued a directive that all passengers must be subjected to mandatory quarantine. It said the civil aviation authorities must hand over the returnees to the law enforcers who would take the passengers to the designated hospitals or quarantine centres.
But yesterday, none of these directives were followed.
The court passed the directive as the authorities had failed to ensure safety by properly checking inbound passengers.
And the health minister had gone even further when he said all passengers who had returned in the last 15 days will be subjected to forced quarantine.
A worker from Kurigram who returned from Malaysia yesterday said his body temperature was checked and then was advised to go home for self-quarantine.
Meantime, three more new infected cases were found despite the very limited testing being done. One of the three, a 70-year-old male, is in a critical state and has been in intensive care unit.
The nation is yet to get all coronavirus related information from one focal point as has happened in other countries.
Journalists yesterday at the daily briefing by the health directorate asked why one has to approach the immigration department to know how many passengers had arrived on any day, or why the home ministry says it is not its call when educational institutions will be closed down.
In response, the directorate spokesperson, Additional Director General Prof Dr Nasima Sultana said there certainly is a national committee although it is yet to dish out integrated information.
"We are taking all preparations. If the situation demands the national committee will publicly speak," she said.
The briefing revealed how difficult it would be to impose a lockdown as has been suggested by various ministers.
"Lockdowns cannot be implemented by the health ministry alone. Lockdown means everybody will remain indoors unless they need to get some emergency things. But citizens do not want to obey the rules," she said.
When asked which places have coronavirus patient concentration, she expressed ignorance about it, saying the immigration has this information.
It seems people of the country are still to realize the gravity of the situation and the need to follow the directives to stay safe from the Covid-19 infection. Although all kinds of gatherings have been banned and people have been advised to avoid mosques for the Friday prayer, a large number of people congregated in the city mosques for Jummah prayers yesterday.
Even high level government officials are flouting the order at will. The news of the Brahmanbaria civil surgeon arranging a big wedding ceremony of his daughter who herself is a doctor has already appeared in news media.
Meanwhile, police are finding it a tough job to ensure home quarantine because so many returnees from abroad have dispersed around the country after being allowed to go their own way.
When journalists asked the Health Services Additional DG how they were keeping track whether returnees were following the self-quarantines, she said, the immigration and NSI has the list of the returnees and those lists have been sent to local police authorities for follow up.