Three districts Wednesday announced restrictions on public movements to tame the rising Covid-19 infections as experts have suggested completely isolating the areas.
The movement curbs in north-western district Rajshahi and two upazilas in Naogaon will be effective from Thursday while three areas under south-western Khulna city will go under the restrictions from Friday.
The district authorities separately slapped the curbs amid a nationwide "lockdown".
In Rajshahi, intra-district vehicular movements will remain suspended from 7am to 8am while markets and shops will remain shuttered until further notice. People will also have to stay at home during the time, Rajshahi Deputy Commissioner (DC) Abdul Jalil told the press after a meeting Wednesday.
But emergencies such as medicines, treatment and burial will be out of the purview of the restrictions. The curbs will also not be applicable on other emergency services, agri-item supplies, seasonal mango transportations, and online businesses.
DC Abdul Jalil said restaurants and eateries will remain open providing only takeaway services. Kitchen markets will remain open in open places during daytime.
While Rajshahi allows the people to come out of home during daytime, parts of Naogaon and Khulna bans all public movements for seven days.
Naogaon Civil Surgeon Dr ABM Abu Hanif said, "With the intra-district transportation suspended, none will be allowed on roads during the lockdown. Markets, malls and offices will remain closed too."
The civil surgeon said the infection rate at Naogaon municipality and Naogaon's Niamatpur upazila has been hovering around alarming 25-26%.
"At other upazilas of Naogaon, there will be restrictions slapped by the ongoing countrywide lockdown," he said, adding the next decision will be taken after seven days considering the situation.
In Khulna's Sonadanga, Khalishpur and Khulna Sadar, malls and markets will be shuttered while there will be curbs on movements too. The local administration will be monitoring the enforcement of the stay-at-home order.
According to the Khulna civil surgeon office, the infection rate in Khulna Sadar is 35%, 25% in Khalishpur and 17% in Sonadanga.
All the three districts Wednesday said they will hold awareness campaigns and conduct mobile courts to force people to wear face masks and maintain health safety guidelines.
Not completely sealed off — Will it help?
The National Technical Committee on Covid-19 Management Tuesday recommended the government completely locking down the regions with higher infection rates.
The recommendations include a total enforcement of stay-at-home order, suspending inter-district buses, beefing up monitoring and prompt actions against lockdown flouting.
Earlier on 30 May, another health directorate committee also recommended imposing "lockdown" in India-bordering Rajshahi, Natore, Naogaon, Satkhira, Khulna, Kushtia and Jashore to stop the spread of the Indian variant in Bangladesh.
Prof Liakot Ali, biomedical scientist and a member of the government-formed Public Health Advisors Group, said if the seven districts could be completely isolated from the rest of the country, the infection chain would be broken.
"Cluster lockdown is easier to impose and more focused on curbing the infection," he told The Business Standard.
With the movement curbs in place, Prof Liakot said the districts will have to ramp up coronavirus testing, especially the antigen tests.