Amid rising coronavirus cases and fatalities, a technical committee of the government has primarily identified 45 areas in the capital as red zones.
It has also identified 11 areas in Chattogram city, the entire Gazipur district, and several upazilas in Narsingdi and Narayanganj. Officials might further narrow down the areas to be locked-down based on available data.
Although the committee has yet to come up with an official list of the areas, residents in different parts of the capital started wondering when they might face a strict lockdown.
“I have seen in the media that Uttara will be marked as a red zone. But is it the whole Uttara or a certain part of it?” a resident asked our correspondent.
Of the areas identified in the capital, 17 are under Dhaka North City Corporation and 28 are under Dhaka South City Corporation.
The Central Technical Group under the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) in its second meeting on Saturday identified the areas, according to the meeting minutes.
“The work is going on. The Directorate General of Health Services will soon issue a circular with the names of the areas,” Habibur Rahman Khan, additional secretary of health service division at the health ministry, told The Daily Star last night.
Making a list of red zones does not necessarily mean that the areas will immediately be under lockdown, he said.
“The public administration ministry will issue a gazette notification mentioning when the lockdown will be ordered, so that the people in the area can prepare themselves.”
Habibur added that there would be a notice of at least a day or two before the lockdown is enforced.
According to the meeting minutes, in the city corporations of Dhaka and Chattogram, an area will be marked red if it has recorded 60 or more cases of coronavirus per one lakh residents over the last 14 days.
Under Dhaka North City Corporation, Bashundhara, Badda, Cantonment, Mohakhali, Tejgaon, Rampura, Aftabnagar, Mohammadpur, Kallyanpur, Gulshan, Moghbazar, Airport, Banasree, Rayerbazar, Rajabazar, Uttara and Mirpur were identified as red zones.
Under Dhaka South City Corporation, the areas identified are: Jatrabari, Demra, Gendaria, Lalbagh, Azimpur, Basabo, Shantinagar, Paltan, Kalabagan, Ramna, Sutrapur, Malibagh, Kotwali, Tikatoli, Shahjahanpur, Motijeel, Wari, Khilgaon, Poribagh, Shahbag, Eskaton, Kodomtoli, Siddheshwari, Laxmibazar, Elephant Road, Segunbagicha, Malibagh and Khilgaon.
The areas under Chattogram City Corporation are: Chittagong Port Ward-38, Patenga Ward-39 (partly), Chittagong Port Ward-39 (partly), Pahartali Ward-10, Kotwali Ward-16, Khulshi Ward-14 and Ward-20, Kotwali Ward-21 and Ward-22, Halishahar Ward-26, and Chittagong Port Ward-37.
Contacted, DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam said he came to know about 17 areas under his jurisdiction.
“But the areas need to be specified. Earlier, it was mentioned that Rajabazar will be placed under lockdown, but later we saw that only Purba Rajabazar was locked down,” he said.
“If an area is categorised as a red zone and lockdown is imposed, I have to give at least 48 hours’ notice for preparations.”
About the 11 zones identified in Chattogram, Deputy Commissioner (Special Branch) Abdul Warish of Chattogram Metropolitan Police said, “We will lock down Uttar Kattoli area from midnight on June 16. All shops, including drug stores, in the area will remain closed.
“Essential goods will be provided to the residents with special arrangement, so that people can stay at home,” he added.
Apart from Dhaka and Chattogram cities, an upazila will be marked red if it has recorded at least 10 cases of coronavirus per one lakh residents over the last 14 days.
According to the meeting minutes, civil surgeons, deputy commissioners and superintendents of police may narrow down the areas according to available data.
In Narsingdi, the areas marked are Narsingdi Model and Madhobdi thanas and Palash Upazila.
Narayanganj city corporation areas, Rupganj, Araihazar and all upazilas in Gazipur were identified as red zones.
The meeting minutes said the Central Technical Group would develop a tool to help local administration identify the red zones.
If required, it will recommend preparations needed to be taken for red zone management by appropriate local authorities as specified in the standard operating procedure (SOP) prepared by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the cities.
To stem the spread of coronavirus, the government earlier set different parameters to designate areas according to coloured zones — red, yellow and green.
The government has already started enforcing containment zones on a pilot basis in some areas of four districts, including Dhaka. In the first phase, two areas of the capital — Rajabazar and Wari — were marked red with strict restrictions.
No one will be allowed to enter or exit the red zones. There will be restrictions on people and traffic movement in the yellow zone. The green zone will have no such restrictions, but no one from the red zone and the yellow zone will be allowed to enter the green zone.