We want strict restrictions to avoid fresh lockdown27 January 2022
Authorities are at a fix whether it should shutdown Dhaka International Trade Fair (DITF) and whether it is advisable to hold the Ekushey Book Fair. The month long DITF is almost at the end while the Ekushey Book Fair is supposed to open from February 1 -- the next day of the closure of the trade fair. February is an eventful month to see huge public gathering in the International Mother Language Day on 21st when people pay tribute to language martyrs, besides holding big cultural gatherings, music festivals and showcasing of local handicrafts in open air all over the country.
Such huge events are super spreader of Covid-19 which is surging in the country at the moment making more and more people fatally sick and increasing the incidents of deaths. It is the third wave of the pandemic critically threatening to disrupt the economic recovery. It will render meaningless refinancing of recovery. It appears that the authorities are reluctant to shut the DITF and trying to continue it till to the end urging visitors to follow health guidelines and social distancing. Similarly, some decision makers still favour the book fair to show what a senior government minister earlier said that this government is more powerful than the threat from Covid-19.
We would ask the government to pay heed to the recommendations of National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19 to shut the DITF and delay the book fair. DITF is already a failed venture whether or not the government continues it and in our view it is time for the government to take critical decision to protect people. Moreover restrictive measures on public gathering may help to keep the economy and business from coming under fresh shutdown. In our views, closure of schools for a limited time is a welcome. Banks' decision to operate at half manpower is timely. The five-point fresh restriction to contain the deadly virus covering market places, passengers' terminals and gathering of over 100 people makes sense.
What we would however like to say is that mere restrictions are not enough, people must be forced to obey health rules to avoid greater lockdown. Lockdown makes wage-earners life miserable. We can't afford a third round of lockdown.