It will take a few more days for the two city corporations in Dhaka to enforce a lockdown in the red zones as they are yet to get specific zoning maps and guidelines.
Sixteen days have gone by since the government decided to lock down red zones, flagged as risky areas based on Covid-19 infections and deaths, but the city corporations have only received a gross list of the areas to be locked down.
However, a few other areas such as in Chattogram, Gazipur, Mymensingh, and Narayanganj went under lockdown with the decision from the respective local administrations complying with the directive from the Directorate General of Health Services.
In a press briefing on Tuesday afternoon, Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh, mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC), said it would take 48 to 72 hours to enforce the lockdown after they receive the detailed maps from the authorities concerned.
Mayor Taposh said there will be standard operating procedures to enforce lockdown in red zones. "We are hoping to get the guidelines in the next one or two days," he added.
The red zones will be the first priority for Dhaka south as they now fear that the coronavirus situation might get out of control in those areas.
"We will start working the moment we get the zoning maps of specific areas," Taposh added.
As Covid-19 is a highly infectious virus and no antidote has been invented yet, social distancing and containment is the main weapon to fight it.
There are 28 areas designated as red zones under Dhaka south's jurisdiction and 17 under Dhaka north
Meanwhile, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam on Tuesday in a video message, said, "I talked to the health directorate. They will give me the detailed maps of 17 areas under my jurisdiction today or tomorrow."
"After getting the maps, we will take steps to lock down new areas based on the experiences we gathered from East Rajabazar."
Lockdown for 21 days in red zones
Earlier on Monday, the government declared general holidays in the red zones which will go under lockdown.
The health directorate, in a press release, said lockdown in the red zones will be for 21 days instead of the 14 days decided earlier.
"The red zone status will be lifted when the situation improves," said the health directorate.
It also gave guidelines for people to follow during a lockdown.
Residents who live in red zone areas have to do work from home. Besides, all kinds of public gatherings are restricted in these areas.
However, healthcare centres, hospitals and institutions with emergency services will remain open in the areas.
Adequate testing arrangements will be made for Covid-19 suspects in these areas. People who are tested positive will stay in home isolation or institutional isolation.
Only groceries and pharmacies of these zones will remain open. Restaurants and food shops will remain open only for home delivery services.
Residents are allowed to go to markets only when it is needed. Shopping malls, movie theatres, gyms/sports complexes and entertainment centres, however, will remain closed.
Financial activities such as deposit and withdrawal can only be conducted at ATM booths maintaining social distancing. Besides, banking services can be kept open on a limited scale.
The Cabinet Division also issued the directives which will remain in force until June 30.
According to the directives, all government offices, non-government, autonomous, private offices and their employees and staffers under red zones will be under general holidays, and the public administration ministry will take necessary measures in this regard.
The life and livelihood, movement of people in red, yellow and green zones under the Bangladesh Risk Zone-Based Covid-19 Containments implementation Strategy guide provided by health authorities will be strictly controlled.
No one will be allowed to go out of his/her home from 8 pm till 6 am without emergency work (emergency purchasing, workplace, medicine purchasing, treatment, and burial process).
Army to strengthen patrol in red zones
Members of Bangladesh Army will intensify patrol in the red zone areas.
A press release of Inter Services Public Relation (ISPR), signed by its Assistant Director Rashedul Alam Khan, on Tuesday confirmed the information.