Govt plans to place virus 'hotspots' under lockdown amid pandemic

  • Staff Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-06-06 16:41:14 BdST

bdnews24

The government is planning to impose area-wise lockdowns in Dhaka, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, by identifying infection clusters and hotspots in the capital after Bangladesh ranked 20th among the countries most affected by the pandemic.

The lockdowns will be enforced on a 'pilot basis' within the next few days, according to Additional Secretary Habibur Rahman Khan, the convenor of the government's media cell on COVID-19.

Speaking to bdnews24.com on Saturday, Habibur said, "We will start by locking down neighbourhoods, communities and wards taking into account the coronavirus hotspots or cluster areas."

"The lockdowns will initially be implemented on a limited scale in Dhaka. This is because Dhaka has the most COVID-19 patients. We will later evaluate the situation and take steps to place other district towns under lockdown as well."

Bangladesh reported its first cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, on Mar 8. The tally of infections has since soared past 63,000 as the death toll hit 846 on Saturday.

The government reopened offices and public transport system on Mar 31 after over two months of a lockdown in the form of general holidays and stay-at-home orders.

Less than a week after lifting almost all the restrictions, the local authorities in Cox’s Bazar had to put the municipality on lockdown again, declaring it a red zone with maximum infection risk as the number of coronavirus cases began rising rapidly there.

But as coronavirus cases and deaths continue to show little sign of slowing, the government has decided to split the country into three zones -- red, yellow and green -- based on the rate of infection and mortality in different parts.

"We will enforce lockdowns in certain areas with the help of the ICT Division and the mapping process is already underway. Health experts have also joined in the efforts although the work isn't complete yet. We will start the process within the next couple of days," said Habibur.