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Dhaka Tribune

SOP of new lockdown plan prepared, zoning pilot program to start soon

According to government officials, Bangladesh can control the spread of Covid-19 more efficiently once the plan is implemented

Update : 06 Jun 2020, 09:31 PM

The government has already drafted a new lockdown strategy, mapping the country into red, yellow, and green zones.

A virtual inter-ministerial meeting to finalize the draft and Standard Operating Procedures (SoP) for city corporations and districts was held on Saturday.

“The draft plan and SoP was discussed at the meeting. Now, the summary of the plan will be sent to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for approval,” said  Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Minister Md Tajul Islam, who participated in the meeting.

“The plan will be implemented as soon as possible, once approved. The government wants to implement it immediately,” he told Dhaka Tribune.

According to government officials, Bangladesh can control the spread of Covid-19 more efficiently once the plan is implemented.

Meeting sources said the ICT Division of the government led the drafting of the zoning plan, while Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) drafted the SOP for urban areas and Narsingdi District Administration drafted the SOP for districts.  

All ministers and mayors concerned participated in the meeting, including Health Minister Zahid Maleque, State Minister for the Ministry of Public Administration Farhad Hossain, and DNCC mayor Atiqul Islam. 

Initially, the plan will be piloted at a ward each of five city corporations that are hotspots of coronavirus and in Narsingdi district. If the pilot program proves successful, the plan will be implemented across the country.

“We have prepared an SOP specifying the duties of respective authorities in implementing the zoning plan to curb the coronavirus outbreak. If the SOP gets approval, it will be applicable for all cities,” said DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam. 

“We have fixed Rajabazar (ward no-27) for the zoning pilot program. The ward will be mapped into red, yellow, and green zones, depending on the number of patients in each area,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.  

On June 1, the government decided to divide areas hit hard by Covid-19 into zones for lockdown, in order to prevent the coronavirus from spreading further.

Wari, Rajabazar in Dhaka, to be put into experimental zonal lockdown from Sunday

Rajabazar in Dhanmondi under DNCC, and Wari in old town under DSCC, will be put into zonal lockdown from Sunday. 

Health Ministry Additional Secretary Habibur Rahman Khan confirmed the development, saying the zonal lockdown will initially be implemented on an experimental basis.

How red, yellow, and green zones will be mapped

Zones will be mapped based on wards in city corporation areas, and upazilas and unions at the district level. 

The ICT division of the government has developed an app to determine the number of Covid-19 patients in all areas of the country.

A source at the ICT division said the BTCL can determine the number of Covid-19 positive patients using mobile networks. 

Hotspots with the highest number of cases will be marked as red zones, areas with a limited number of cases will be designated yellow zones, and green zones will be areas with zero confirmed cases in the last 21 days. 

Red zones will face the heaviest restrictions, and the designation of an area will change as the number of patients goes down.

The government is yet to finalize how many Covid-19 patients are required for a zone to be designated red. 

According to the draft plan, a zone will be designated red if there are over 40 Covid-19 patients for every 100,000 people living there. If there are no more than five positive or active cases then it will be a green zone, and above five and below 40 will be designated yellow.

India has been implementing such a plan since May 4, but the number of Covid-19 patients in the neighbouring country is still on the rise.

What are the restrictions in red, yellow and green zones?

The government will impose a strict lock down in red zones to control further spread of coronavirus, with the aim of making it a yellow zone. Some restrictions will continue to be applicable for yellow zones, in order to make it a green zone with virtually no coronavirus cases.

In red zones, almost all forms of transport will be suspended and public transport, including trains and launches, will not be allowed to stop. Goods transport will only be allowed to move at night, and residents will have to rely on delivery from restaurants, grocery stores, shops and pharmacies as services will be closed to walk-in customers. Residents will be allowed outside only in case of emergencies, even in the day time. Only ATM booths will be open for banking in red zones.

Essential services will still be available in rural areas, even in red zones. 

Any public meeting with more than 30 people will not be allowed. Office from home is mandatory for red zones. Rural agro-processing will remain at the district level, but will be closed in urban red zones.


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