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Snapshot of Life under Lockdown in Bangladesh

NEW YORK/DHAKA, Apr 2 2020 (IPS) - The Coronavirus pandemic is changing how we live our daily lives. The scale of the COVID-19 and its impact on our lives is unprecedented. When humanity gets past this, the world will be a very different place than the one we have known.

The changes will likely impact how we interact with each other and with family, how we work, study, eat, pray, love or play. The COVID-19 crisis has upended our lives. This novel virus is already reorienting our relationships with the outside world, our loved ones, dependence on each other, on technology, government and healthcare. What changes we might see in the future is uncertain. Global cooperation may be at stake although what we are hearing today is that we must all be together in this fight for survival against the virus. In the near future, we cannot rule out a scenario of fierce competition over resources, medicines and food.

Italy’s Ezio Mauro recently wrote in La Repubblica:
“… As we know, democracy is also a system of mutual guarantees which we take for granted because they are part of our civilisation – which is now threatened by the virus. Now we must relinquish parts of our freedom in the name of responsibility. … And even if politicians are not yet saying it openly, this is the real confirmation of the emergency.”

Mohammad Rakibul Hasan, an award winning photojournalist from Bangladesh shares with us a set of images on the lockdown across the country. Workers in the garment industry, rickshaw pullers and hourly contract labourers in Bangladesh are hit with loss of income like no other in the face of COVID-19 crisis. In the garments sector alone, Bangladesh has lost around $1.5 billion in canceled orders by foreign brands, which has impacted some 1.2 million workers. Ever since the increase of COVID-19 cases in Europe and the United States, Bangladeshi factories are losing around $100 million per day.

Gatherings, including the saying of prayers in the mosque, during the COVID-19 outbreak have been prohibited to ensure public safety. However, some religious people continue to attend mosque and say prayers.

Shops are closed, and people rarely venture onto the street.

The homeless have nowhere to go. There is no government initiative to aid the homeless in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The COVID-19 outbreak red alert has been taken seriously by the public in Bangladesh. Few venture out for anything. Roads and highways are empty, and there is no sign of life on the streets.

Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, never sleeps. Approximately 30 million people live in this mega city. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has locked down the city, no one should be out or on the street unless it is for an emergency.

A transwoman calls her ex-boyfriend during isolation amid the COVID-19 lockdown in Dhaka.

A transgender couple kisses during the COVID-19 outbreak in Dhaka. The trans community is socially excluded, locally they are called “Hijra”, and they generally encounter socio-cultural deprivation from mainstream society. The coronavirus pandemic has meant they are unable to leave their homes, placing many in a difficult financial position as they face shortages of food and daily necessities.

Mehrunnessa lives in an ‘old age home’ in Dhaka. She has been living in a “type of isolation” away from her family, but the COVID-19 outbreak has meant that her relatives, who used to visit her frequently, no longer come to see her. She says that the whole world is suffering, and hopes “God is kind enough to eliminate the evil disease soon”.

COVID-19 outbreak has locked down one third of the population across the globe. Bangladesh is a densely-populated country and there is a high risk that the deadly virus can spread rapidly as many of the city’s homeless sleep on the streets.

Kamalapur Railway Station, the central station in Dhaka, has been shut down to prevent the virus spreading in the rest of the country.

The Dhaka City Corporation has begun spraying disinfectant in public places to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19.

During the COVID-19 lockdown in Bangladesh, many street people have no choice but to live in the open. The virus is airborne, according to World Health Organization, and can survive for between three to 24 hours on various surfaces.

People traveling to their homes after Bangladesh’s government instituted an emergency lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

As government and private organisations, shops, factories and all most everything was closed, people who work in Dhaka were rushing to leave the city for their home towns by public transport. Many did not use adequate safety measures, which could lead the COVID-19 spreading nationwide.

The day before the shutting down all inter-city buses, many people were returning to their home towns as Dhaka city was locked down. There was uncertainty of how long the lockdown would last.

City railways stations are always crowded with thousands of people every minute. But COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown declared by the government has been taken seriously by the citizens of Bangladesh. Everything is closed and there is no presence of people at the stations any longer — only a few stray dogs.

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