The government has finalised the list of virus hotspots to be labelled "red zones" according to the recommendations of the national technical committee formed to tackle the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Forty-five areas in the capital, 11 areas in the port city of Chattogram, the entire Gazipur district, and few areas of Narayanganj and Narsingdi have been identified as red zones.
Farhad Hossain, state minister for public administration, told The Business Standard that the list of red zones was finalised.
"The committee finalised the zones and these will go under lockdown. There will be holidays in the red zones which will be locked down," he said.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday told the parliament that her government would put the worst-hit Covid-19 areas under lockdown to stop further spread of the lethal virus alongside taking effective measures to run the wheels of the economy so that none would die from starvation.
Mentioning that the fear arising from the Covid-19 pandemic has reached a terrible height, she said, "We could not allow deaths of people from starvation due to the panic."
Hasina said that her government has been trying its best to make people understand the urgency of maintaining health codes in a proper manner to stem further spread of Covid-19 and to protect them from the highly contagious virus.
The strategic working plan of the national technical committee has set the criteria to identify the virus zones. According to the criteria, if 60 or more people per one lakh in a city are infected in the last 14 days, it will be declared a red zone. For a rural area, it will be 10 or more infections per 1 lakh.
Also, if three to 59 people per 1 lakh people are infected in a city, it will be labelled a yellow zone.
As per the criteria, 45 areas under the two city corporations in the capital will be in red zones. Among them, 17 are in the North city corporation and 28 are in the South city area.
Sources said the identified red zones will be locked down in a customised manner. The most infected areas, or those most prone to infections, will be identified and will be locked down instead of the whole area.
The identified red zones in Dhaka North are Bashundhara, Badda, Cantonment, Mohakhali, Tejgaon, Rampura, Aftabnagar, Mohammadpur, Kalyanpur, Gulshan, Moghbazar, Airport, Banasree, Rayerbazar, Raja Bazar, Uttara and Mirpur.
Mirpur and Uttara are under consideration to be made more granular for more effective zonal management.
On the other hand, the red zones in Dhaka South are Jatrabari, Demra, Mugda, Gendaria, Dhanmondi, Jigatala, Lalbagh, Azimpur, Basabo, Shantinagar, Paltan, Kalabagan, Ramna, Sutrapur, Malibagh, Kotwali, Tikatuli, Mitford, Shahjahanpur, Motijheel, Wari, Khilgaon, Paribagh, Shahbagh, Eskaton, Kadamtali, Siddheshwari, Laxmibazar, Elephant Road and Segunbagicha.
Dhanmondi, Malibagh and Khilgaon are under consideration to be made more granular for more effective zonal management.
Eleven areas have been identified in Chattogram City Corporation as red zones. They are Chattogram port ward 38, Patenga ward 39 (part), Chattogram port ward 39 (part), Pahartali ward 10, Kotwali ward 16, Khulshi ward 14, Kotwali ward 20, Kotwali ward 21, Halishahar ward 26, Chattogram port ward 37 and Kotwali ward 22.
Besides the capital and the port city, all upazilas of Gazipur district have been identified as red zones.
Narsingdi Model thana, Madhobdi thana, and Palash upazila of Narsingdi district have been named red zones. Also, Rupganj and Araihazar of Narayanganj district, and Narayanganj Sadar are under red zones.
The national technical committee said for the rest of the areas in the country, especially in districts and upazilas, the cut-off point for red zones will be 10 cases per 1 lakh population in the last 14 days. Also, locally, civil surgeons, deputy commissioners and superintendents of police can decide on the smallest areas according to available data.
Lockdown in red zones, sources said, will be enforced in phases; not in all areas at the same time.
On June 1, the government decided to divide the entire country into three zones – red yellow and green – based on the number of Covid-19 cases in different areas. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina agreed on the zoning system and approved it.
At midnight on June 9, an "experimental" lockdown in the capital's East Rajabazar was put in place as the number of cases rose there. A strict lockdown continued for the fifth day until Sunday. People's movement was tightly monitored as volunteers and law enforcers kept a log of individuals exiting from and entering the area.
Drawing on the experience of lockdown in East Rajabazar, the government upgraded its plan and operational procedures in the red zones.
State Minister for public administration Farhad told The Business Standard that all preparations have been taken and lockdown will be enforced soon.
Sources in the two city corporations of Dhaka said they had received the list of the red zones, and lockdown would be enforced within a day or two after the back-end preparations were completed.
Meanwhile, Chattogram City corporation Mayor AJM Nasir Uddin declared that North Kattoli of ward 10 in the city corporation will be put under experimental lockdown from June 16.
Lockdown enforced in Bogura
The Bogura district administration has declared nine areas as red zones. They are Jaleswaritola, Natai Para, Chelopara, Naruli, Sutrapur, Maltinagar, Thanthonia, Haripara and Coloni area.
Lockdown in the areas were effective from 5pm Sunday. In an order, Deputy Commissioner Faiyez Ahamed issued a seven-point directive, banning all kinds of meetings and gatherings in the areas.
He told The Business Standard that after the meeting of the district coronavirus prevention committee, a proposal was sent to the health ministry by the civil surgeon.
"After the ministry's approval, the district administration decided to lock the areas down."