People will face severe financial crises if several areas of Dhaka city are put under lockdown, DGHS officials say
The government has decided not to put any area of Dhaka city under lockdown. However, areas marked as red zones will be contained by imposing strict rules as people in those areas will be on a general holiday.
The government will contain specific areas of the capital instead of enforcing lockdowns as was done in East Rajabajar.
The areas of the city to be marked for containment are being selected following the mapping of Covid-19 patients.
Officials of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) said people would face severe financial crises if several areas of Dhaka city were to be put under lockdown. That is why highly affected areas would be brought under containment.
However, a strict lockdown in the red zones helps in reducing the number of patients, according to assessment reports from Dhaka and Narsingdi, where lockdown has been imposed since June 12.
“It is under consideration that strict rules will be imposed at red zones instead of a complete lockdown. People can move, but will not move unnecessarily in the containment area as they will enjoy a public holiday. All local shops, kitchen markets, shopping malls, salons and restaurants will be open, but under strict monitoring,” said an official of the DGHS seeking anonymity.
“Everyone must follow health guidelines in the containment area, including social distancing outside of home. Movements of private vehicles and motorcycles will be restricted in those areas,” he added.
The list of the areas will be published gradually within 2/3days from the DGHS as it is a continuous process due to the number of patients changing every day.
Speaking on the issue, Farhad Hossain, state minister of Public Administration, has said, “Red zones will be fixed within 2-4 days, then public holidays will be announced to contain the area.”
“It is significant to finalize the specific areas in Dhaka with proper mapping as it is the most densely populated area as well as many important offices are there,” he said.
“All the areas will not be under strict enforcement at the same time to save the economy; the most infected areas of the city will get priority,” he added.
The government has already announced public holidays in the red zones of 19 districts for containment.
The ICT division and A2i have been providing technical support to the DGHS to identify the most infected areas of Dhaka city. An app has been developed already to locate the mostly affected areas.
Dr Dewan Muhammad Humayun Kabir, joint secretary and joint project director of A2i, said: “The discussion of 45 red zones in Dhaka is not valid as it is yet to be finalized. We have developed technology and have already shared it with the officials of the DGHS to identify the high risk areas [red zones] to be contained.”
“The DGHS officials and civil surgeons of the districts can mark off an area in line with the technology,” he added.
Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director of IEDCR, said: “The number of patients will not be the only means of identifying a red zone. Rate of infection, economic issues, density also will be considered.”
For his part, Nazrul Islam, former vice chancellor of BSMMU, said: “We should go for immediate action to control the further spread of the coronavirus. We should implement the action strictly.”
Both mayors of the Dhaka city corporations have already announced that they are fully prepared to carry out government decisions to control the further spread of the virus accordingly.