Sunday, October 25, 2020 | ePaper

Secretariat's laxity towards health rules draws concerns

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Even as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a heavy toll on the lives of Bangladeshis, neglect of health and safety protocols is rife across the country, not least the Secretariat in Dhaka, the heart of the administration.

Currently, no-one is checking the body temperature of officials and other employees upon arrival. Hand-washing or disinfection facilities disappeared from the entrances of some buildings.
While some ministries installed disinfection tunnels at building entrances on their own initiatives in April, most are now out of order, while the ones that still work are barely used.
Officials show little or no inclination for physical distancing on the elevators in the early hours even though notices hung on the walls clearly advise against such practices.
Many are also seen roaming around freely inside the Secretariat without wearing masks.
Bangladesh reported its first case of the novel coronavirus on Mar 8. The government subsequently enforced a nationwide lockdown on Mar 26 before extending it to May 30. Offices, public transports and educational institutions were all shut down during this period.
Economic activities have resumed gradually after the country reopened on May 31 following a 66-day shutdown.
The labour and employment ministry was among the first to set up disinfection tunnels.
But some of the tunnels were not found in working condition, while one of them had no power connection at all. The picture was the same at the Local Government Division and some other ministries.
The disinfection tunnels at the Roads and Highways Division are functional, but no-one was using them.

"We all know each other as no visitors are allowed now. So we are not facing any major issues at work," an official of the division told


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