The government should immediately review its decision of withdrawing the holiday and impose area-wise lockdown before the coronavirus outbreak goes beyond control, public health experts said.
There is no logic in opening all offices, factories and public transports and thereby forcing people to move outdoors for their livelihoods at a time when both the number of infected people and fatalities was on the rise daily, they said.
Livelihood can never be more important than life, they said, adding that the countries in Latin America and North America were now struggling as this fact was not given due attention.
‘The decision to end the holiday must be reviewed immediately as the government’s anticipation of decrease in the rate of infections and fatalities by May was proved wrong,’ Bangladesh Medical Association president Mostafa Jalal Mohiuddin told New Age on Tuesday.
Reality had its own plan and the detection of COVID-19 infected people per day doubled in the past 10 days and per day fatality rate also saw a sharp rise, said Mostafa, also a member of the National Technical Advisory Committee.
The number of COVID-19-affected people on Tuesday was 2,911 when it was 1,522 on May 24, he said, adding that the number of fatalities of the doctors, police, civil servants and others was also on rise.
‘Under the circumstances government’s wait-and-see strategy might take the situation beyond control,’ Mostafa added.
Another advisory committee member and also Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad president professor Iqbal Arsalan also voiced his concern over the grave situation and recommended immediate imposition of zone-based lockdown.
‘Declaring area-wise lockdown earned good results in Shariatpur and Tolarbagh in Mirpur at the beginning of the crisis. So, we asked the government several times to put the hotspot zones under lockdown immediately,’ Arslan said.
Public movement restrictions could not be implemented by just declaring the general holiday from March 26 that ended on May 30, he said.
Former BMA president Rashid-e-Mahbub demanded an increase of testing facilities for identifications and mapping the zones.
‘Many people are getting infected waiting in lines for testing or taking medical services,’ he said.
Eminent virologist Nazrul islam said that the snail-paced actions would further deteriorate the situation.
‘We have failed to make people use masks and maintain social distancing. Paradoxically, the public transportations, factories and offices have been allowed to reopen,’ he said.
Physician Quazi Quamruzzaman said that the government should provide basic amenities to the people after placing the hotspot zones in lockdown.
Health ministry additional secretary Habibur Rahman Khan said that an inter-ministerial meeting on Monday decided to go for zoning the country according to ‘red, yellow and green’ considering the area-wise distributions of COVID-19 infections and deaths to check the further spread of the infection.
‘We are all set to put the wards in lockdown where a large number of infected people are found,’ he said.
The government was also increasing testing facilities, he added.
All offices and public transports, besides businesses reopened on Sunday over two months after a nationwide shutdown despite fears of further increase in the number of coronavirus infections.
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