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Covid advisory panel: Restrictions relaxed too early, decision should be reviewed

  • Published at 08:22 am August 14th, 2021
End of lockdown
File photo: People rush to get on a bus in Dhaka without maintaining social distance, made mandatory by the government to contain Covid-19 transmission, on Wednesday, August 11, 2021 Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The committee recommends imposing the lockdown for couple more weeks

The National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19 is of the opinion that the restrictions imposed to stem the spread of coronavirus have been relaxed too early and has asked the government to reassess the decision.

The panel in a press release has also suggested keeping community centres and tourist attractions shut for another few days, eateries and restaurants not to permit dining in and public transports to operate at half capacity.

The advisory body made the recommendations in a meeting held on Thursday, with the committee’s Chairman Dr Mohammad Shahidullah in the chair, said the release.

Although the lockdown in force from July 23 to August 10 had not been strictly complied with, it said, the infection rate saw an improvement owing to the closure of several important venues.

But neither the daily fatalities nor the infection rates are in check.

In such circumstances, the panel is concerned by the decision of the authorities to relax the restrictions so early.

The meeting noted that the government was seemingly in a hurry to lift most of the curbs, which might increase the risk of re-infection, placing the country’s economy at a greater risk.

The NTAC, considering these aspects, urged the government to re-evaluate the decision and recommended imposing another lockdown for one or two more weeks.

Also Read - State Minister: Lockdown again if Covid infections rise

The panel also congratulated everyone involved in inoculation activities for the vaccination of more than five million people in a week through the recently concluded mass drive.

It also lauded the decision to include pregnant and lactating women in the regular inoculation campaign.

The World Health Organization in July warned governments across the globe against easing Covid-19 restrictions too early, saying that countries that did so risked facing dire consequences for hurrying back to normalcy.

Bangladesh was under a strict lockdown from the beginning of July till August 10, excluding an eight-day break during Eid-ul-Azha.

The government’s decision to relax the lockdown came at a time when the Delta variant of Covid-19 is wreaking havoc across the country.

The pandemic has so far claimed 23,810 lives after infecting 1,405,333 people in Bangladesh.

Until Thursday afternoon, the health authorities had managed to administer the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine to some 15.3 million people and both doses to around 5.22 million people across the nation.

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