Lockdown in the capital's East Rajabazar area, which went into effect for 14 days from Tuesday midnight, is being enforced strictly to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
In a visit to the area on Wednesday morning, which is labelled as a Covid-19 red zone, all shops, except pharmacies, were found closed. Roads were empty. Only one out of eight entrances of the area was kept open for emergency entry and exit.
Amin Al Rasheed, a resident of the area, said, "The previous two and a half months were normal government holidays. As a result, most of the people did not care about that. Many went out on the streets even without wearing masks and maintaining social distancing norms."
"But this time the authorities are saying that it is a serious lockdown. Seeing the preparation, it seemed so," he added.
Only health workers, journalists, patients and people with any urgency were allowed to leave the area through that gate. Apart from these people, nobody including government employees is allowed to exit the area.
Besides, journalists, who are not residents of East Rajabazar, are also prohibited from entering the area.
However, another resident Mujahidul Islam claimed that he has seen movements of people and the rush of rickshaws on the road from his balcony.
"As a result, a chaos has been created at the entrances and exits points, where bamboo is fenced off and police and local ward council members are in control of the people's movements," he said.
Zane Alam Munshi, officer in charge of Shere Bangla Nagar police station, told that they are implementing the lockdown strategy from last midnight. A team of police started patrolling in the area around 11 am.
"It would take time to understand the lockdown completely. Patrol team is doing surveillance round the clock. So, it would not be so easy to go in and out of the area without any reason," he added.
The local authorities are disinfecting every person while entering the area.
A local resident, on condition of anonymity, said, "I work as a sales-person in a shop in Dhanmondi and get paid daily basis. If I cannot go to work, I won't get paid and thus will have to starve."
As authorities are not allowing anyone to exit the area without urgencies, she was not allowed to leave for her hometown either.
Faridur Rahman, councillor of ward 27 of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), assured that the authorities would assist the needy people.
"We will give relief to the poor and who are in need. Others can avail home-delivery services," he said.
Some 150 volunteers were deployed in the area to enforce the lockdown rules and provide food and other necessary deliveries. The volunteers will work on a shift basis.
"Nine vans are ready with food including vegetables and fruits. They will visit every alley in the area from 2 pm. People can buy food from those vans and volunteers will deliver them to their doorsteps," said Rezwanul Haque Jami, head of e-commerce, Access to Information (A2i).
Pointing out that they were ready for any emergency food supply, Jami said they have kept three pick-up vans ready with more foods.
People, however, can call concerned people for rice, lentils and other necessary supplies.
The authorities distributed leaflets giving phone numbers of people to contact for these services.
For the suspected and confirmed patients of Covid-19, a "Covid-19 testing booth and isolation centre" has been opened at Nazneen School and College in the area. So that, people can give samples there and go into isolation if they are tested positive.
In addition, the representatives of DNCC's ward councillors, Health Directorate, Dhaka Metropolitan Police, A2i, E-Commerce of Bangladesh and other organisations have jointly set up a control room at the school.
"Mosques will also remain open. However, residents are not allowed to enter the mosque except the mosque authority," said the councillor Faridur Rahman.
The area has been labelled as red zone as a pilot project to curb the spread of Covid-19.
However, according to the IEDCR's latest data, East Rajabazar has only 28 Covid-19 patients. Some neighbouring areas have more patients, but those areas are not locked down.
The councillor Faridur Rahman said that the area was chosen by the health ministry.