Experts say for locking down areas, it is not necessary to put barricades at all entry points
To curb the coronavirus transmission in the capital, more than 100 clusters and areas have so far been locked down, according to Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
In most cases, when a Covid-19 case is detected, local communities first communicate with police and lock down the areas, putting barricades at entry points to the area.
But experts say that in locking down areas, it is not necessary for barricades to be put up at all entry points to the areas or clusters.
In the opinion of Public Health Specialist Md Azizur Rahman, when a case is detected in an area the authorities should arrange tests for all those who have come into close contact with the infected person.
"Police and the local administration should stop the free movement of people in the area and put the house of the infected person under lockdown immediately. And they can make also put up barricades to the adjacent lanes or nearest buildings," he told The Business Standard.
He cautioned, though, that "it is not mandatory to make a barricade with bamboos or other materials at the entry points of an entire area." He added that the main entry points could be placed under surveillance but not under a complete shutdown."
But at different places in the capital the local communities have kept the main entry points shut down with barricades without any authorisation from the police.
On Tuesday, police and the local community locked down a part of Lalmatia as Covid-19 patients were found there.
They kept the main entry points to the area adjacent to Meena Bazar at Dhanmondi 27 closed off, obstructing emergency services.
Md Rafiqul Islam, a resident of the area, told The Business Standard that the infected person was found at least 200 metres away from his house in Lalmatia.
"But the local community has created a hurdle by putting up a bamboo barricade at our main entry point. It costs us a lot in bringing food and other emergency items," he added.
For his part, Md Azizur Rahman said keeping infected persons in isolation is more important than locking down the main entry points to areas.
"If you don't ensure a proper isolation of the infected person then what's the use of barricading an entire area," he asked.
Abdullah Hil Kafi, additional deputy commissioner of Ramna Division, told The Business Standard, "We have taken this step to curb criminal activities and to control local people from wandering about."
"Several roads have been closed off for security purposes, but certain roads have been kept open for emergency movements," he added.
Nasimul Ahsan, a resident of Khilgaon area, told The Business Standard that local people have been suffering a lot as their main entry points have remained closed off for the last one week.
"My baby's food ended twice but no delivery man could enter the area as the main gate had been barricaded. I had to go to the main entry point of our residential area on foot at least half a kilometre away," he added.
A resident of Tolarbagh area complained that police had shut down the main gate as they wanted to avoid patrolling the area.
"They just stand in front of the gate and nobody cares actually what is happening inside the area. I have observed several times but I have not seen the police at the main entry point," he added.
However, Sohel Rana, assistant inspector general at police headquarters, said ensuring proper isolation is better for curbing community transmission of the virus.
"In most areas, local communities put up barricades with bamboos at the main entry points. Police knew nothing of this. So, the matter has to be resolved by the communities as to whether their main entry points will be shut down entirely or partially," he added.