People are helpless when public offices remain indifferent to public health

19 November 2020

THE government's zero-tolerance policy 'no mask, no entry' for public offices does not affect and explicitly ignored, posing the risk of spreading contagion in the upcoming winter, when the second-wave of the Coronavirus is feared. People are reluctant to wear masks while the authorities turn a blind eye to this essential health regulation enforcement. The public offices are historically infamous for ineptness, sluggishness, and dillydally. Still, it is unaccepted when the pandemic straightens many sectors; the government offices remain in the same 'don't care' drowsiness. Enforcement of the health regulations: wearing masks, frequent hand washing, disinfecting common space, social distance norms -- could be possible if top officials become aware.
On 3 November, the government issued a circular to strictly implement the "No mask, no entry" order after failing to implement the previously announced "No mask, no service" instruction. The Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) office entrance on Sunday did not have a "No mask, no entry" sign; even the security guards inside roamed around without face coverings as if the pandemic was over.
People at the government office are reluctant to put face masks on, and there was a measure, too, to force service seekers to comply with the virus safety rule. The lax approach to virus safety is common at other public offices in the capital while the picture of ignorance is also prominent in district headquarters. People remained reluctant to put on a mask despite the orders of fining by mobile courts. Even, visitors and patients in hospitals are unwilling to wear face masks.
There is no alternative to facing masks to check the possible second wave of Covid-19 infections in the country when we have no vaccine and no known treatment. To address reluctance to wear masks, more public awareness programs should be raised. The government offices must enforce all health regulations to prevent the second wave of contagions and switch online governance to avoid crowds.

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