Why the delay in area-based lockdown?

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The transmission of coronavirus is on the rise in Bangladesh. Around 4,000 new patients are being identified daily on an average. As of 29 June, the total number of identified patients stood at 141,801 and 1,783 people had died.

The transmission has accelerated since the end of the general holiday on 30 May. The infection shot up in the following week. In the last 20 days, the total number of patients has doubled from the previous three months.

The vague announcement of imposing lockdowns in some parts of the red zones has created confusion and in fact no real lockdown has been implemented in any of the red zones.

The overall coronavirus situation in Bangladesh has, thus, entered an increasingly worrying phase. Experts warned at least a couple of weeks ago that the infection could escalate to massive levels, especially in urban areas which is exactly happening now.

Not only that, in June, the infection has increased significantly in the 26 districts of the country where the level of infection was relatively low. The biggest concern is that the speed of infection is still high all over country, both in urban and rural areas.

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What is to be done? How can this rapid increase in infection be stopped? Experts have been suggesting from the beginning that maintaining social and physical distance is the most effective way to prevent infection.

But since the end of the general holiday, social distance rules have been flouted widely and as a result, the number of patients has been increasing rapidly. Again, since it is not possible to continue the lockdown across the country indefinitely, experts say the lockdown needs to be enforced in the most infected areas.

We do not understand why it takes so long to formulate a detailed plan for the implementation of the area-based lockdown and take steps to implement it.There is no scope for delay.

It has been proven in many countries of the world that it is possible to prevent the rise of infection by implementing area-based lockdown and hygiene rules. Government policymakers have therefore identified the most affected areas in Dhaka and Chattogram as red zones.

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It has been said that a 'partial lockdown' will be implemented in the red areas. But the vague announcement of imposing lockdowns in some parts of the red zones has created confusion and in fact no real lockdown has been implemented in any of the red zones.

About 50 areas in the capital Dhaka have been declared red zones. But lockdown had been imposed only in East Rajabazar so far. It is being said that lockdown will be implemented in Wari area of ​​old Dhaka. But why there is no lockdown in other red zones? If there is no lockdown in any other red zones, why those areas were marked as red zones?

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We do not understand why it takes so long to formulate a detailed plan for the implementation of the area-based lockdown and take steps to implement it.There is no scope for delay. Initiatives should be taken to implement area-based lockdowns in red zones immediately.

There must have been written instructions on how the emergency services in the area will work and how it will ensured that those instructions are implemented. Similarly, compulsory code of conduct on what is meant by area-based lockdown, what the residents of the area can and cannot do must be formulated and distributed. Above all, strict monitoring should be conducted to ensure that the area-based lockdown is being implemented properly.

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