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Curbs in 7 districts of Dhaka division: enforcement still falling short

BANGLADESH (The Daily Star/ANN)  -- As Covid-19 deaths and infections continue to rise, the government aims to enforce the ongoing restrictions in seven districts around Dhaka more strictly to guard the capital against the virus.

People in their hundreds wade through river water to get off a ferry pontoon and on to the shore at Mawa on Wednesday.      --Photo Sajjad Hossain

The government also plans to extend the restrictions, imposed till June 30, for a week, sources in the Cabinet Division told The Daily Star on Wednesday.
The extension may come at a time when experts are warning that the situation across the country may deteriorate in the coming days due to the lax enforcement of the Covid curbs.
If proper measures are not ensured right away, the situation may become like the one witnessed in India recently, they also warned.
Visiting different places of the seven districts yesterday, correspondents of this newspaper found that the “lockdown” was being enforced in a relaxed manner.
Most shops were open. Small vehicles like CNG-run auto-rickshaws, packed with passengers, plied the roads as buses remained parked inside depots.
Vehicles were even stuck in traffic in some of the districts. Also, hundreds of passengers crossed the Padma river through the Shimulia-Bangla Bazar ferry route on their way to Dhaka.
All this happened as the health crisis continues to deepen across the country.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) yesterday reported 85 more deaths from Covid-19, the highest single-day deaths recorded in nearly two months. Eighty-eight deaths were reported on April 29.
In 24 hours preceding 8:00am yesterday, 5,727 new infections were recorded, the DGHS said.
Yesterday, the positivity rate climbed to 20.27 percent, the highest in the last 71 days.
The Cabinet Division sources said the government was set to heighten the restrictions in the seven districts to save densely-populated Dhaka city from a Covid onslaught.
The sources also said the government is not currently considering putting the capital under lockdown.
The authorities plan to check public movement and ensure that no one in those seven districts leave their homes unless faced with emergencies.
Vehicle movement will be stopped completely and no one will be allowed to enter or exit those districts, the sources said.
Experts have, meanwhile, said Dhaka and all other districts in the country should be put under a strict lockdown immediately since the overall positivity rate is now over 15 percent.
Prof Ridwanur Rahman, an infectious disease specialist, said, “With these high positivity rates, a lockdown is needed in Dhaka city and other parts of the country. It is required to reduce the rush of patients at hospitals and to save lives.”

(Latest Update June 25, 2021)

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