If a lockdown is imminent, enforce it tough
With the country reopening after a protracted lockdown, the spike in COVID - 19 death and infection rates have shot up perilously. Double digit number on the death count has become the 'new normal 'and average infection rate is near 2, 500 every day. Against the backdrop of such alarming development, the government has been reported to consider imposing another phase of general holidays after June 15.
Understandably, the 66 days long-drawn-out general holidays - extended several times throughout April and May have failed to serve its sole purpose - to contain the spreading of the deadly pandemic.
The point, however, in case the government finally decides to impose a shutdown, make it tough so to make it effective. Make it a full-fledged lockdown and enforce tougher rules. Relaxed measures under the banner of 'general holiday' will not work and it has miserably failed in the recent past.
Drawing lessons from the failures, we believe it is also crucial to impose corporal punishments along with introducing monetary fines in our streets, markets and public places. A little over a week ago, we urged the government to formulate and pass a law with regard to making use of facemasks and PPE s mandatory, we once more stick to our plea.
However, the future lockdown must commence with a series of preconditions. All offices, courts and labour-intensive factories should be closed except for urgent economic needs and emergency public service activities. Public transport, including inter-district services must not operate. Food, cash and daily essentials must be provided to all unemployed people. Salaries and allowances of all mill workers, government and private offices, courts, employees and officials should be maintained and any kind of layoffs should be stopped.
Not only increase in the number of routine COVID - tests, the government's authorities concerned must come forward to increase the number of beds and provide uninterrupted supply of oxygen to each patient in hospitals treating Covid-19 patients or Coronavirus wards at upazila, district and divisional levels.
Altogether we call out for an all-out-approach but also an effective approach. The number one precondition to contain the spreading is people's willing cooperation; otherwise the repetition of another spate of poorly imposed so-called confusing general holidays will not serve the purpose.