38 of the 64 districts of the country have been brought under total lockdown as of April 18
Despite being the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic in the country, Dhaka is not being considered for a total lockdown.
Dhaka is only under a partial lockdown; all the entry and exit points have been restricted and more than 50 areas of the city have been locked down by the authorities.
However, the government has no plans yet to completely lock the city down like it was done in other coronavirus cluster cities across the world.
Meanwhile, respective district administrations have imposed total lockdowns in 38 districts across the country as of April 18, as per the situation report by the National Disaster Response Coordination Centre.
Many of the districts have enforced lockdowns even with only a few cases of coronavirus infections, as the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) previously declared that community transmission of the virus has already begun.
So what makes Dhaka different and why is it not being considered for total lockdown?
“The government has been implementing many initiatives like maintaining social distancing for the wellbeing of the people of Dhaka as it is the capital of Bangladesh and the administrative centre. This is why we are not planning to completely lock the city down,” said Mustafizur Rahman, divisional commissioner of Dhaka division.
“Some essential facilities should remain open, even if the situation worsens,” he added.
It is usually the deputy commissioner of a district who can impose lockdown on a district with the divisional commissioner’s consent.
However, being the capital of the country, it is a different case for Dhaka. Only the top level management of the government can impose a lockdown on the capital city.
“As far I know, the government has no plan for completely locking down Dhaka,” informed Mustafizur.
A source from the Prime Minister’s Office also confirmed that Dhaka will not be brought under total lockdown.
Nevertheless, the World Health Organization (WHO) has asked Bangladesh to consider imposing a complete lockdown or declaring an emergency to combat the spread of coronavirus on March 22.
Instead of that, the government announced public holidays in order to ensure social distancing starting from March 26.
Still, most district administrations had to lock down their districts one by one after the overall situation deteriorated from the beginning of April.
Police have locked down a total 52 areas of Dhaka until mid-April after Covid-19 patients were found in the localities.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on April 13 asked the authorities concerned to lock down the areas where Covid-19 cases were reported.
“As per the prime minister’s guideline, only the selected areas have to be brought under lockdown,” said the Dhaka divisional commissioner.