Bangladesh panel calls for expanding lockdown coverage in hotpots to curb contagion

The national advisory committee on COVID-19 has suggested that the lockdown should cover as much of the risky zone as possible to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Published : 11 June 2020, 06:32 AM
Updated : 11 June 2020, 06:32 AM

The committee put forward five recommendations, including increasing the scope of hospital services, and urged for its speedy implementation during the ninth meeting of the 17-member committee on Wednesday.

A "complete lockdown" is needed to ensure social isolation, Dr Mohammod Shahidullah, chief of the committee, said in a statement.

Earlier, the committee suggested launching high-flow oxygen therapy in all hospitals as a matter of urgency. It again advocated for launching and expanding the therapy across all hospitals in its latest meeting.

A large number of health workers have been getting infected by the coronavirus and the committee expressed its concerns over the matter. It suggested setting up separate hospitals for health workers quickly.

The committee previously asked all hospitals to provide separate treatments to both COVID-19 and non-COVID patients. Some hospitals had failed to implement the directive and the committee again asked the centres to follow through on its directive. 

"The treatment of COVID-19 patients must be further enhanced. That is why it is necessary to launch a chest disease hospital or any other suitable hospital immediately,” the committee said.

Steps need to be taken to improve test quality and ensure quick deliverance of test results, it said. Until it is possible to ensure quick results, measures should be taken for the treatment or isolation of suspected patients during the waiting period, the committee added.

Bangladesh reported its first cases of COVID-19 on Mar 8.

In an attempt to curb the coronavirus outbreak, the government imposed a lockdown on Mar 26, closing all offices and educational institutions while shutting down the public transport system. The lockdown was later extended in phases until May 30.

The country reopened offices and resumed public transport services on a limited scale on May 31. Afterwards, infections and deaths started to rise as people returned to work, deepening the risks of contagion.

Some members of the committee questioned the decision to lift the lockdown without proper preparation in contrast to other countries where the lockdown was lifted after the rate of infections began to decline.

On Jun 1, the government decided to flag COVID-19 risk zones as red, green and yellow on the basis of death and infection rates.

Subsequently, East Rajabazar area went into lockdown from Tuesday midnight due to a high coronavirus infection rate.

As of Wednesday, 74,865 people have been infected by the coronavirus with 1,012 deaths, according to the government.  

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher