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2nd wave of pandemic to push country into dual crises

Hossain Zillur Rahman places alternative ‘smart lockdown’

Published : Tuesday, 13 April, 2021 at 12:00 AM  Count : 145

The second wave of Covid-19 pandemic may push the country into dual crises of health and economy, a civic group on Monday suggested 'smart lockdown' classifying hotspots of infection areas.
Presenting a five-point action plan, Healthy Bangladesh, a core group, recommended a plan for engaging all people in addressing both health and economic challenges of the Covid-19, instead of a 'top-down bureaucratic approach' as witnessed last year.
"Better preparedness is not      seen whereas corruption, mismanagement and inefficiency have been exposed... credibility of the Health Ministry is seriously questioned," Convener of the group and economist Hossain Zillur Rahman observed during a virtual briefing on 'Combating Covid-19 Second Wave: Immediate Action Plan Required'.
The action plan proposes a smart lockdown considering metropolitan Dhaka as the epicenter of the second wave, followed by Chattogram and other high-transmission urban areas and upazila centres and villages for applying varying degrees of restrictions.
"New restrictions are bound to have adverse economic impacts, especially on the low-income population and the informal economy. It is essential to both lessen the economic suffering and provide temporary assistance," reads the action plan.
It also added that in Dhaka and other megacities, it is crucial to increase various distributions of essentials by the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).
Because of the escalating health risks, the action plan recommends that the government can acquire treatment facilities of 2-3 thousand beds of private hospitals for at least three months in transmission-prone areas, including megacities.
"Infection rate is galloping. Youth, too, are vulnerable. The fragile economic recovery is facing the specter of another meltdown," said Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman, reading out the action plan.
He regretted that a year of living under the pandemic shadow had induced a response 'fatigue' all across society.
"Even when warning signs had begun to appear over the horizon, combating Covid-19 had slipped out of government's priorities and attention," the economist added.

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