Over 60 Covid-19 patients per 100,000 for red zones in Dhaka, over 10 elsewhere
Areas under Dhaka's two city corporations will be declared red zones if more than 60 confirmed cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people are detected in those areas in the preceding 14 days, according to the government's finalized zone-based lockdown strategy.
At the district level, the civil surgeons can declare red zones if more than 10 confirmed cases per 100,000 people are detected in the preceding 14 days.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has issued guidelines on the strategy.
According to the guidelines, red zones will be high-risk areas and the authorities will provide all necessary support, including food, safety and medical care, as no one will be allowed outside of their homes. Yellow zones will be a moderate risk, and green, low risk.
The DGHS will designate zones in urban areas, while Civil Surgeon offices will set zones at the district level in order to execute strict lockdowns, according to the guidelines.
The DGHS also issued an office order to execute zone-based lockdowns starting June 10, 2020.
According to the office order, local administrations with the support of Covid-19 committees will execute zone-based lockdowns across the country. A public health expert committee will monitor and guide the process.
The Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) has already started implementing the zone-based lockdown in East Rajabazar from June 10. Furthermore, North Birampur and South Birampur, two wards of Narsingdi under Madhobdi municipality, and a ward of Rupganj municipality under Narayanganj district have been in lockdown since June 12.
According to the government, the Wari area under Dhaka South City Corporation and a ward of Gazipur City Corporation will be locked down as soon as possible. Similarly, Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) will execute lockdowns in high-risk areas immediately.
“Gradually, the zone-based lockdown will be implemented at all hotspots of the country,” said Md Tajul Islam, Minister of the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperation.
“We have already given directives to the district administration, city corporation, municipalities and Union Parishad to form local committees following guidelines of the DGHS,” he told Dhaka Tribune.
Syeda Farhana Kawnine, the deputy commissioner of Narsingdi district, said: ‘We are executing the lockdown in two wards of Madhobdi municipality. It will continue for at least 14-21 days.
“All of the committees, volunteer groups, food and medical support are now available. We have finalized a budget proposal to ensure services,” she told Dhaka Tribune.
According to the database of IEDCR, 49 areas have more than 60 confirmed patients. Now, the ICT division and local administration are working to segregate the areas where there are 60 patients per 100,000 people in the preceding 14 days.
“An entire ward will not be locked down, but a part of the ward will be locked down when the confirmed case rate is high,” said Farhad Hossain, state minister of the Ministry of Public Administration.
Providing an example of the zone-based lockdown, DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam said “In ward 27 of DNCC, we have only locked down East Rajabazar after evaluating the number of patients. Other areas of ward 27 like West Rajabazar, Indira road, and Sukrabad remain open.”
How zones will be defined
The following table describes the initial approach to zoning. The definition is expected to evolve based on disease transmission and containment impact, as per the opinions of an appropriate central group to be constituted by the DGHS.
— 10 or above laboratory-confirmed cases per 100,000 people in the preceding 14 days (elsewhere)
— 3-9 laboratory-confirmed cases per 100,000 people in the preceding 14 days (elsewhere)
— Those which have not recorded any Covid-19 cases from the start of the zoning process
— Those which have reported Covid-19 cases but no new cases
Once defined, a red zone will remain a red zone for at least 3 weeks before they can transition down to a yellow zone.
According to the guidelines, daily data from the IEDCR has to be provided to the local/zone committees so the communities can be informed of the situation. People should be alerted when zones change colour.
Action to be taken by local committees
Committees will be formed by engaging the local or zonal community, such as city mayors, ward councillors, religious leaders, CSOs, local NGOs, teachers, youth clubs, boy scouts, girl guides, health and social welfare local officials and staff, police, and other law enforcement authorities.
The lead has to be taken by elected public representatives with the active involvement of health and police officials. Financial support will have to come from city corporations or municipalities.
The local or zonal committees will have the responsibility of ensuring food supply, medical facilities, and other necessary support. This includes:
— Making the local community fully aware of what is going to happen in the selected zone.
— Putting up buntings of different colours in the different zones with written and pictorial health and hygiene instructions in visible places with the support of social welfare officials and NGOs.
— Actively helping to identify cases by setting up sample collection booths and deploying trained sample collectors.
— Helping to isolate all positive cases in existing isolation centres presently available within the zone, or setting up such centres in schools, colleges or community centres.
— Undertake contact tracing to find all individuals who have come into contact with the positive cases. Anyone found positive will be put into isolation centres. An available app could be used.
— Setting up community kitchens.
— Ensure wearing of masks by 100% of people. All non-users have to be provided with punishment. The local/zone committee should distribute free masks to ultra-poor people of their zone.
— People should continue washing their hands with soap and using hand sanitizers. The local or zone committee should distribute free hand sanitizer to ultra-poor people of the zone or set up handwashing facilities where possible.
— Ensure social or physical distancing as much as possible in offices and religious centres such as mosques, banks, and railway and bus stations.
— Ensure adequate treatment of all cases, including those who are found Covid-19 positive, with the aim of zero deaths.
— Ensure free ambulances to transport ultra-poor people of the zone and those in dire need.