Narayanganj is on a complete lockdown for the third straight day as the area has turned into a hotspot of the coronavirus outbreak, with the second most confirmed cases after Dhaka. To contain the deadly effects of coronavirus, police set up checkpoints at key points of the city to make sure that no one enters or leaves the area.
The law enforcers are conducting searches at all the check posts. They are sending people back home immediately with a warning if anyone is going outside without an emergency.
But there were just a few people in the streets and alleys of Narayanganj city. The streets were as silent as a grave. However, police patrols were strongly visible at different points of the city.
Meanwhile, since the announcement of lockdown in Narayanganj, people of other districts including Narsingdi, Kurigram, Chandpur – who came here for a living – are secretly trying to go home at night through the roads and waterways.
Already one of the two infected apparel workers – who returned to Narsingdi from Narayanganj – died. And the area has been under shutdown since then. The same scenes were observed in other districts where people from Narayanganj fled to at the dark of the night.
To make sure that no one enters or leaves Narayanganj through the roads or waterways, the patrol of the law enforcers has been toughened up, said Jayedul Alam, Narayanganj district superintendent of police.
"Siddhirganj police station seized a truck, carrying 30 to 40 people from Narayanganj to another district, on Thursday night. Also, the Fatullah police station intercepted a covered-van from Munshiganj on which some tried to enter Narayanganj. The people from Munshiganj were sent back to where they came from. And those who tried to go to other parts of the country, from Narayanganj, were cautioned and sent back home."
The Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and the Army have joined the police in patrolling the streets and alleys of the city to enforce the lockdown. Additional Superintendent of Police and Senior Assistant Director of RAB Adamji headquarters Alep Uddin said, "Muslim devotees of the city have been warned not to overcrowd the mosques during the Friday prayers."
Meanwhile, since March 8, 77 people tested positive for coronavirus in Narayanganj and 10 of them died, confirmed Imtiaz Ahmed, civil surgeon of the district.
"The Directorate General of Health Services announced that the 300-bed hospital in Narayanganj city's Khanpur will be used to provide treatment to patients diagnosed with Covid-19. The DGHS also informed the hospital authorities about the decision over the phone and with a letter."
"The hospital will begin treatment for coronavirus patients within two or three days. Samples of coronavirus patients will be collected and sent to the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) in Dhaka.
"All regular patients who are presently undergoing treatment at the 300-bed hospital will be shifted to Narayanganj General Hospital. Only patients who are infected with coronavirus will be admitted to the 300-bed hospital following the directive."
Meanwhile, civil society members and local public representatives demanded the setup of a coronavirus testing lab and arrangement of test kits at the hospital.
Demanding a coronavirus testing lab at the hospital, Narayanganj City Corporation's Ward-13 Councillor Maksudul Alam Khandaker Khorshed sent a letter to the Directorate General of Health Services through the district administration.
Considering the seriousness of the threat, journalists and journalist leaders of the district gave statements and circulated media releases recently to draw the attention of the authorities, making the same demand.