The health ministry is likely to put 64 areas, including 45 in the capital, on lockdown soon in a bid to arrest the spread of novel coronavirus in line with the recommendation made by National Technical Advisory Committee for fighting COVID-19.
The committee meeting on Saturday also recommended putting 10 areas in Chattogram, 4 in Narayanganj and 5 in Gazipur on lockdown considering those as hotspots with greater number of detected COVID-19 patients.
Additional health secretary Habibur Rahman Khan told New Age on Sunday that the specific areas in the 64 were marked as red zones following the technical committee recommendation and the enforcement of a 14-day lockdown would be announced after getting opinion from the Access to Information, the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research and the Directorate General of Health Services.
‘Some parts of a red zone, not the entire area, would be on lockdown and the announcement might come on Monday,’ he said, adding that all types of movement would be restricted in the areas while the government would create facility for purchasing essentials by the residents and provide food to the needy ones.
On pilot basis, the government put Purba Rajabazar in the capital on June 10.
Till Sunday, 1,171 people died and 87,520 tested positive for COVID-19 in Bangladesh.
Access to Information joint project director Dewan Muhammad Humayun Kabir said that they were yet to specify the areas from the 64 hotspots.
‘We are in the final stage and considering the capacity of the government for enforcing the lockdown and reviewing the result of the areas already on lockdown,’ he said.
The technical committee on Saturday recommended 17 areas in Dhaka North city — Badda, Cantonment, Mohakhali, Tejgaon, Rampura, Aftabnagar, Banasri, Mohammadpur, Kalyanpur, Maghbazar, Airport, Rajabazar, Uttara and Mirpur, Gulshan-1 and Gulshan-2 — and 28 areas in Dhaka South city — Jatrabari, Demra, Mugda, Genderia, Lalbagh, Azimpur, Dhanmondi, Jigatola, Basabo, Shantinagar, Paltan, Ramna, Sutrapur, Malibagh, Katwali, Tikatuli, Mitford, Kalabagan, Shahjahanpur, Matijheel, Wari, Khilgaon, Paribagh, Kadamtali, Shiddheswari, Lakshmibazar, Elephant Road and Segunbagichato — be declared red zones.
The committee made the recommendation after getting at least 60 COVID-19 infected people per one lakh people in urban areas and 10 patients per one lakh people in rural areas.
Several Dhaka ward councillors, who are supposed to monitor lockdown and provide food to the needy families, said that they would take at least two days to prepare for effective enforcement.
‘Without proper preparations it would not be possible to enforce lockdown,’ said Ahmed Imtiaz Mannafi, councillor for ward 38 of the south city under which Wari had higher number of COVID-19 infected people.
Lakhsmipur civil surgeon Ahmed Faruque said that red zones in Ramgati and Kamalnagar would be put on lockdown from Monday morning till June 30.
Brahmanbaria additional deputy commissioner Mohammad Shamsuzzaman said that they put four areas in Brahmanbaria municipal town on lockdown from Saturday.
Earlier, areas of Cox’s Bazar, Noakhali, Feni, Narsingdi, Gazipur, Narayanganj, Bandarban, Khulna, Jashore and Dhaka were put on fresh lockdown, said the authorities.
A BRAC official, however, said that 92 people of Purba Rajabazar had been found COVID-19 positive in the past five days after the area was put on lockdown on June 10.
Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad president Iqbal Arsalan said that the expected result from declaring lockdown would not be achieved unless the movement was completely restricted.
‘So, the people in the lockdown areas must get food and assurance of not losing jobs,’ he said.
Additional health secretary Habibur Rahman Khan said that government would not assure job security and provide food to all.
‘We will ensure food supply in the areas so that people can purchase,’ he said, adding that the local government representatives would provide aid to the needy people.
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