‘Selective lockdown’ not an efficacious option

Experts suggest simultaneous lockdown in all red zones


Amid mixed reactions to the recently-concluded lockdown in the city’s East Rajabazar as to whether it was successful or not, Dhaka South City Corporation DSSC) started lockdown in city’s Wari area from Saturday.

On the other hand, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) is considering to put city’s Uttara area into lockdown.
Under such circumstance health experts have opined that selective lockdown will not make a huge difference as far as turning red zones into yellow or green is concerned whereas some other experts still suggest enforcing strict lockdown saying that there is no alternative to deal with COVID-19 except lockdown.

They warned, if we fail to enforce lockdown strictly, COVID-19 will stay for a long time in the country.
However, replying to a question regarding the outcome of East Rajabazar lockdown, Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Director Prof. Dr. Meerjady Sabrina Flora said, “We gave a time limit of twenty eight days. But we saw that the lockdown was completed in twenty one days.”

She went on to say, “It is not realistic to implement lockdown while maintaining people's livelihoods. Area-based lockdowns are not very effective.”

According to health officials, there were no effective results from East Rajabazar lockdown. They said that those who were infected during the lockdown period did not get the time necessary to get rid of COVID-19.
There are risks of further transmission from these infected patients as well.

“The most effective step for Bangladesh was to screen out the foreign returnees from high-risk countries and put them under isolation. But we failed. Even after that, we missed many more chances to contain the spread of coronavirus”, Former President of Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) Prof Rashid-E-Mahbub told the Bangladesh Post.

He added, “If a person is safe for twenty eight days and then goes out after this lockdown period, still there is a risk of infection for him. It means the hard work of twenty eight days is actually not paid off.”

Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Advisor Mushtaq Hossain said, “Selective lockdown will not bring any benefit. If the entire Dhaka is locked down at the same time or at intervals of five to seven days, the benefits will be clearly evident.”

“In addition, we must have proper plan in place to supply foods and other essentials among the poor people living in the area. We need to set up an isolation center within that particular area and provide all the necessary support, including food for the suspected COVID-19 patients from that centre.”

Prof Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed, former director of Communicable Disease Control at DGHS, said, “If all the red zones are locked down at a time, only then it will bear fruits.”