Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday directed the authorities concerned to impose strict lockdown on seven border districts as soon as possible to check the spread of coronavirus in the country.
“Impose strict lockdown on seven border districts as soon as possible as corona cases have sharply increased there,” Health Minister Zahid Maleque quoted the premier as saying during the regular cabinet meeting.The health minister expressed grave concern over the rising trend of coronavirus in the seven border districts --- Naogaon, Natore, Satkhira, Jashore, Rajshahi, Kushtia and Khulna.
The number of corona infections and deaths is rising in bordering districts of the country, Zahid Maleque said.
“The cabinet has taken the matter seriously. “The authorities are making delay in imposing lockdown on these districts, taking into account the interest of mango farmers,’ he added.
The minister said delay in taking decision to impose lockdown on the seven districts bordering with India will only lead to a sharp increase in corona infections.
“We want lockdown in the border districts immediately. Our advice is to impose lockdown on the border districts as corona infections are on the rise in the areas.”
After an Indian variant of coronavirus was discovered in Chapainawabganj on May 24, the local administration imposed a strict lockdown on the bordering district.Similar strict restrictions have also been recommended for Naogaon, Natore, Satkhira, Jashore, Rajshahi, Kushtia and Khulna districts.
Local administration, civil surgeon and local representatives may jointly declare lockdown in an entire district or in a particular place if corona situation turns serious there, Cabinet Secretary Khandakar Anwarul Islam told journalists after the cabinet meeting.
Whether an entire district or only particular area will be put under lockdown will be decided after examining the corona situation, the cabinet secretary said. If the authorities concerned think that the corona situation in the border districts is alarming, they can impose lockdown there, Anwarul Islam added.
The government has instructed the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) to arrange treatment for critical corona patients, the cabinet secretary said.
The DGHS has also been asked to send the critical corona patients to nearby medical college hospitals if they need oxygen support, he added.
Earlier on Sunday, a committee of experts at the Directorate General of Health Services advised imposing stricter lockdown restrictions on seven border districts following sudden spike in corona cases.
Meanwhile, the ongoing strict lockdown in Chapainawabganj has been extended for another week until June 7 to curb the surge in corona infections in the district.
However, seasonal mango trade will be kept outside of the purview the lockdown this time, Deputy Commissioner (DC) of the district Manjurul Hafiz told a press briefing at his office. He claimed that the seven-day restrictions proved successful in reducing corona infection rate in the district. “We decided to extend the lockdown to maintain the declining trend.”
The DC said mangoes can be sold or purchased in different designated places. Mangoes can be carried by trucks and transportation of mangoes can be operated through courier services, he said adding local administration will take necessary steps in this regard.
“The fresh lockdown will have all the same restrictions in place as before,” he added.
All kinds of vehicles will keep off roads during the lockdown while ambulances, goods-laden vehicles, patient-carrying vehicles will be allowed to ply the roads.
No vehicle from Rajshahi and Naogaon will be allowed to enter or depart Chapainawabganj. All shops and weekly haats will remain closed during the shutdown. Grocery shops, kitchen markets and pharmacies will remain open. But people will not be allowed to come out of their houses but they will be allowed to meet emergency.