June 20, 2021


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There is no alternative to universal lockdown

Elsewhere in the country, the situation is relatively stable, but alarming news is coming from the border districts. Already there has been an increase in infections as well as hospital beds and oxygen crises. The expert committee of the health department has recommended ‘lockdown’ of seven more border districts in the context of increasing corona patients. Lockdown was announced earlier in Chapainawabganj district. The seven new districts recommended by the expert committee are Naogaon, Natore, Satkhira, Jessore, Rajshahi, Kushtia and Khulna.

According to health department sources, there are no intensive care units (ICUs) in Naogaon, Natore, Kushtia and Chapainawabganj. As a result, complicated corona patients have to be shifted to a nearby district having ICU facilities. On the other hand, central oxygen system has not been introduced in Chapainawabganj and Jessore districts yet.

In the last month, corona infection in India has increased at an unusual rate, which has also spread to the border states of Bangladesh. At one point the government announced the closure of the land border; However, due to the transportation of emergency goods, that decision could not be fully implemented. As a result, the infection is relatively high in the districts bordering India. The World Health Organization (WHO) report last Wednesday found that the rate of new cases in 22 districts was 100 percent or higher in the one week from May 16 to 23 compared to the previous week. Of these, 15 districts are bordering.

The expert committee recommended new lockdowns in seven districts along the western border, but said nothing about the eastern border districts. The activities of the administration in those districts are also relatively less. A number of returnees have also been reported in Comilla, Sylhet, Brahmanbaria and Moulvibazar on the eastern border. The government should pay attention to this and take effective measures to prevent infection. The West Bengal government has announced a statewide lockdown. But no state government on the eastern border has taken such a step. As a result, fears remain on the eastern border.

At a time when infections are on the rise in India, experts have suggested a number of measures, including border closures. Unfortunately, at first the government did not take the matter seriously. The administration became restless after the corona of several citizens of Chapainawabganj was caught at Rajshahi Medical College Hospital. Besides, the decision to keep the returning citizens in compulsory quarantine for 14 days was not fully implemented. Many have left their homes to avoid institutional quarantine.

For those who are already infected, it is time to take all necessary steps to treat them as well as to prevent new infections. The corona test should be ensured to as many people as possible in the border areas. The border must be closed completely. It is encouraging that a picture of a mobile rapid antigen test was published in Prothom Alo yesterday at the initiative of Shibganj administration of Chapainawabganj border upazila. We welcome their initiative. Similar activism is expected from other district and upazila administrations. There is no test option to realize the situation.

As per the recommendation of the expert committee, lockdown should be issued immediately in the above seven districts. Area-wise lockdown can be done even if not the whole district.