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  • Last Update : 09:54 am

Unplanned lockdown troubles residents in 15 red zoned districts

  • Published at 04:40 am June 24th, 2020
lockdown habiganj
One person tries to cross a makeshift barricade on a red-zone area in Habiganj district Dhaka Tribune

A whole ward or a union has been locked down with only two to five Covid-19 patients in each

Lockdown at 136 red zones under 15 districts due to Covid-19 has been imposed in an unplanned way without proper mapping, despite the government announced public holidays to execute it in strict manner.

Though the government suggested to lockdown a specific or small area of a district, but instead, a whole ward, union or a large zone was announced to go on lockdown with only two to three Covid-19 patients under a larger area in some districts including Jessore, Madaripur, Moulvibazar, Habiganj, Chuadanga, and Kushtia. 

According to the zone-wise lockdown guideline, the civil surgeon is the focal person to fix the red, yellow, and green zone in a district. 

They are to mark an area as a “red zone” only if there are 10 Covid-19 patients per 100,000 population. Based on this theory, “red zones” were fixed in different districts. 

For instance, wards two and three of Jhikargacha Municipality is under lockdown since June 15, with two Covid-19 patients in each ward with a 2,548 and 5,696 of population, respectively, according to the database of Jessore Civil Surgeon Office. 

Theoretically it becomes a “red zone” as it fulfills the guideline of 10 patients 100,000 population.

However, according to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) direction, a “red zone” will be determined following the mapping also. That is why Dhaka city is yet segregate “red zone” for imposing lockdowns. 

According to DGHS officials, if the Jessore Civil Surgeon office has the exact location of the patients, as the number is only a few, they do not  need to impose a lockdown for a whole ward. Instead, the lockdown can easily be imposed in the two house where the patients live.

Meanwhile, the civil surgeon office claimed that they know the address of the patients, but they had to lockdown the whole ward as per the direction from the DGHS’s Central Technical gGroup of Zoning System.

“We already sent the ‘red zone’ list to the working group and they allowed to us lockdown the area, Dr Rehenewaz, spokeperson of the Jessore Civil Surgeon office said. 

Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Director Prof Meerzady Sabrina Flora, who happens to be a member of the DGHS’ Central Technical Group of Zoning System, said: “ The objective of the zone-wise lockdown is to execute lockdown in micro-level in order to maintain regular activities related to everyday life. If it is possible to mark two houses why we would suggest to lockdown the whole ward. I will check the issue.”

Apart from the two wards of Jhikargacha, more 25 areas are under lockdown with less than five patients per ward.

According to Dhaka Tribun, around 50 zone, ward or areas out of the 136 ‘red zones” are being put into lockdown with only two to five patients in them. 

After analyzing data of Moulvibazar, Chudanga, Habiganj, Madaripur, these were found to have been declared “red zone” without mapping guideline. 

The civil surgeon offices of the districts finalized such zones as they do not have the map or location of the Covid-19 patients. 

Besides, some cases counted the number of patients (from March to June) instead of the previous 14-day phase. 

According to the zoning guideline, “red zones” can be fixed if there are 10 Covid-19 patients 100,000 population in the last 14-days of zoning. 

“We will re-check all our data. If we find any dismal we will take necessary steps,”  Dr. AKM Mostafizur Rahman, civil surgeon of Habiganj district said.

Denying Dhaka Tribune’s observation, Dr Tauhid Ahmed, civil surgeon of Moulvibazar district, said: “The lockdown was implemented following the guideline of the DGHS.”

Lockdown imposed in relaxed manner 

The lockdown in the “red zones” are being implemented in a relaxed manner as there are not volunteer team with food and medicine support for the residents of the areas.  

“Despite, the roads being blocked with bamboos post but, there is not even an Ansar man to guide it. As a result people can easily move,” Abul Kalam Azad a resident of the North Birampur under Madhobdi Municipality said, where a lockdown is in place since June 12.

“It is an eyewash. No one (police/administration) comes to the lockdown zone before 10am every day; many people go to different places in the morning and come back during evening. Nobody ask them anything,” RafiqulIsalm, a residence of Roopganj under Narayanganj said. 

Mismanagement announcing public holiday

The government has announced a general holiday in the country’s 136 “red zone” areas under 15 districts, excluding four areas that have already been on lockdown — in Dhaka and Gazipur. 

People are being confused in the three excluded areas, as the Ministry of Public Administration separately issued orders for the “red zones” except four areas.

Such exclusion has once again exposed the mismanagement and the lack of coordination in the fight against Covid-19 among the agencies concerned.

East Rajabazar in Dhaka and three wards under Gazipur’s Kaliganj Municipality are under lockdown have not been included in the list of areas where the Ministry of Public Administration on Sunday and Monday declared a general holiday for 21 days.

Sources from the public administration said the districts which did not send information of the lockdown and “red zone” area  are still out of government order of public holiday.

“I will discuss the matter with the concerned officials to solve the issue,” Gazipur District Deputy Commissioner SM Tariqul Islam said.

Nasrin Sultana, a private job holder at East Rajabazar, said: “If I fail to submit the government order of public holiday to my office, my salary will be deducted for being absent.” 

The Ministry of Public Administration circular said the general holiday in the designated areas under the districts of Chittagong, Comilla, Bogra, Chuadanga, Moulvibazar, Narayanganj, Habiganj, Munshiganj, Jessore and Madaripur, already on lockdown, would be applicable for the government, non-government and private offices, factories, and courts and their employees.

Issuing a separate circular on Monday, the ministry declared the general holiday for 21 days since the date of lockdown enforcement in 43 more areas under five more districts — Faridpur, Manikganj, Brahmanbaria, Narshindi, and Kushtia.

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