Experts find lockdown ‘unscientific’

07 April 2021


Reza Mahmud :
Lockdown across the country became almost ineffective in its second day on Tuesday but traffic gridlock was found in the capital's main points. Public gathering have been found ignoring health safety rules.
Besides, the government announced that private transports will be allowed to operate in capital Dhaka and other city corporations areas from Wednesday, what public heath experts said will bring more hazardous situation.
"While I was travelling through the capital city on Tuesday from my home to hospitals observed huge traffic gridlock at Jatrabari intersection, Rampura bridge area and Rampura market area and different other points. Shops mostly non-emergency products and services were also found open. It proved that the lock down may not be effective to curb the alarming rise of covid-19 in the country," DR. Md. Salahuddin Mollah, Consultant (Corona Team), Central Police Hospital, Rajarbagh, Dhaka told The New Nation on Tuesday.
Dr. Salahuddin Mollah said that law enforcers played a crucial role during the previous year's lockdown creating public awareness to follow the government directives properly to make the measure effective. "The Army played a vital role using loudspeakers and keeping people home successfully. But in this newly imposing lockdown, people gave no heed to the directives regarding the lockdown," Dr. Salahuddin Mollah said.
On the spot visit, it was found that people are used to create gatherings in different streets and intersections including Doyagonj, Sayedabad, Malibagh, Moghbazar, Banani, Mohakhali and many other areas ignoring government directives about the lockdown.
In the city's Jurain kitchen market area, people disrespected social distancing measures. They used to buy necessary items standing close to one another customers in a huge gathering.
While the government's directives were to keep emergency necessary items shops only, the shop keepers are keeping all of their shops open including confectionaries, saloons and such others.
The similar things were found in Mirpur, Rampura, Jatrabari and other areas in the capital.
While the big shopping malls were remaining closed, the shop owners of those plaza's have staged demonstrations demanding right of keeping those markets open during the lockdown.
Our correspondents said that the shops with of emergency and non-emergency items were found open in Chattogram, Rajshahi, Khulna, Sylhet and other cities and towns.
When contacted, Professor Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed, former Director (disease control) of the DGHS told The New Nation on Tuesday, "The infection of the covid-19 is in a dangerous stage now. In this situation, government should impose a strict and all-out lockdown to control the spreading of the deadly virus transmissions."  
UNB adds: Though a nationwide lockdown has been enforced in Bangladesh for one week with a high hope to limit the spread of deadly Coronavirus, health experts think that this 'unscientific and halfhearted' lockdown is unlikely to yield any positive result.
They said the widespread movement of people, demonstrations and public gatherings at kitchen markets and other places on the first day of lockdown have exhibited that people did not take this "partial" shutdown seriously since offices, factories and Amar Ekushey Book Fair are open.
The experts suggested enforcing a complete lockdown for 14 days shutting down all the offices, mills, factories, book fair and businesses, except those engaged in emergency services, and enforcing it strictly by involving public representatives to break the Covid transmission cycle.
Talking to UNB, Prof Muzaherul Huq, a former adviser to WHO South-East Asia region, said: "We can't call it a lockdown since the government has kept mills, factories, offices and even the book fair open. This is not the scientific way to restrict public movement."
He said lockdown means controlling the movement of people completely. "Lockdown means everything will be closed. Only some important emergency services, drugstores and certain markets from where people can buy food can remain open."
Muzaherul said the seven-day restriction enforced by the government does not match with the principle and definition of lockdown. "It's an unscientific, unplanned and halfhearted lockdown. It won't help the nation get success in containing the virus transmission."
Noted virologist Prof Nazrul Islam, also a member of the National Technical Advisory Committee, said lockdown is a universally accepted system to control the movement of people by shutting down everything, except emergency services.
He said it seems the government enforced a partial lockdown keeping many things open. "A partial lockdown can be enforced in any particular area, not across the country. It'll be only waste of energy, loss of money. The desired goal can't be achieved with it."
Prof Nazrul said people did not take the lockdown seriously as there is no strong monitoring and enforcement of laws to implement the lockdown.

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