The DNCC mayor says they had suggested the health ministry to extend the lockdown
The 14-day lockdown in the capital's East Rajabazar will be extended for another week, said the Dhaka North City Corporation and the Dhaka Metropolitan Police.
But they could not confirm whether it would be extended again after seven days.
East Rajabazar was the first area to be locked down as part of the red zone-based lockdown measures announced by the health ministry after an upsurge in coronavirus infections.
East Rajabazar's local ward Councillor Faridur Rahman Khan Iran told The Business Standard he had heard that the lockdown might be extended but no official decision had been made yet. "As long as the lockdown continues, we are prepared."
He said cooperation of the residents is needed to implement the lockdown. "Everyone should cooperate with the police and around 40 volunteers are working here."
Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Police Station Officer-in-Charge Jane Alam Munshi said there has been no deterioration in law and order since East Rajabazar was declared a red zone. "The area remains very calm and normal."
He said 30-35 police personnel, including senior sub-inspectors, continue their duty in three shifts. "Even if the lockdown is extended, there will be no problem in the duty of police."
Meanwhile, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) Mayor Atiqul Islam said they had suggested the health ministry to extend the lockdown in East Rajabazar.
"Although various areas of Dhaka city have been identified as red zones, we have not yet received a specific mapping from the health department. So, at least we should continue this one for experiment," he said.
"We were just sent a zoning draft but have no specific mapping until now. We keep telling the health department to give us specific mappings and we will then implement the lockdown," the mayor explained.
Atiqul said Rajabazar was identified as a red zone before the lockdown was implemented.
"Later, we surveyed and saw that it was not Rajabazar, only East Rajabazar. So, we want a precise mapping. In that case, it is better if specific houses can be identified. We will then be able to lock down the houses completely."
The DNCC mayor said he had met councillors as part of preparations for the lockdown and told each of them to be ready.
"Once we get a precise mapping, we can start working. But the mapping will be done by the health department. They are still not sure when they will complete that."
Atiqul said, "We came to know that those who were tested for the virus in the beginning did not give their full addresses. They mentioned names of big areas such as Mirpur or Uttara and then put their phone numbers in the forms."
"This is a problem when it comes to implementing lockdown because it is difficult to identify a specific place in a big area."
The mayor said the matter of livelihoods of city dwellers has to be considered too when lockdown will be implemented.
"That is why I say if a house is specified, we can put it on lockdown. We will work according to what our expert committee and technical committee say. The sooner the health department gives us a specific mapping, the earlier we can start working," he added.
But an additional secretary to the health ministry, wishing anonymity, confirmed that there is no hope of implementing zone-wise lockdown in the 45 red zones within two to three days.
"The ministry is still working on the mapping, and it is quite difficult to say when it will be completed," he added.
Meanwhile, the government, in a gazette notification on Sunday, announced general holidays in red zones in 10 districts.
The districts are Chattogram, Bogura, Moulvibazar, Chuadanga, Jashore, Madaripur, Narayanganj, Habiganj, Munshiganj and Cumilla.
According to the gazette notification, the general holiday will be applicable to all offices (both government and private). But all emergency services will remain out of restrictions.
According to the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research, 45 areas of Dhaka city have been marked as red zones which have at least 60 Covid-19 patients. Dhaka south has 28 red zones while Dhaka north has 17.
Red zones of Dhaka north are Gulshan, Badda, Cantonment, Mohakhali, Tejgaon, Rampura, Aftabnagar, Mohammadpur, Kallyanpur, Mogbazar, Airport, Banasree, Rajabazar, Uttara and Mirpur.
In Dhaka south, the red zones are Jatrabari, Demra, Mugda, Gendaria, Dhanmondi, Jigatola, Lalbagh, Azimpur, Basabo, Shantinagar, Paltan, Kalabagan, Ramna, Sutrapur, Malibagh, Kotowali, Tikatuli, Mitford, Shahjahanpur, Motijheel, Wari, Khilgaon, Paribagh, Kadamtali, Siddheswari, Lakshmi Bazar, Elephant Road and Segunbagicha.