Stating that over 80 percent areas in Bangladesh are still free from coronavirus, noted health expert Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed thinks the government needs to take a crash programme to keep those protected and eliminate the virus from the already-affected areas.
He also said such a crash programme will also help the government keep the life and economic activities normal in the 80 percent corona-free areas and minimise the financial losses.
In an interview with UNB, Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed, former director (disease control) of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), also shared a model of eliminating the virus with some effective steps involving public representatives and people.
"If we consider there're 10,0000 villages and localities in Bangladesh, we can assume around 20,000 of them are already affected by coronavirus, but 80,000 are still free from it. It'll be difficult for us to afford if we let the virus reaches the rest of the areas," he said.
To contain the virus, he said, it is necessary to classify all the localities and areas into three zones - 'red' or highly infected areas, 'orange' or less infected area and 'green' or corona-free areas.
"We've 80 percent areas under green zone and we can protect those from the transmission of the virus only by strongly imposing restriction on entry of people of other areas there. These areas should be put under lockdown from outside, but all the activities will remain normal inside," Dr Be-Nazir said.
For example, he said, if any upazila can be identified as free from corona, the government will take step so that no one from other parts of the country can enter there, but people inside the upazila will be able to lead their normal life and do all activities."
Of the rest 20 percent areas, the expert said, 15 percent are under orange zone having a few corona cases. "If we take steps to identify all the infected patients in the areas, those came close contact of them, and keep them in quarantine, these orange zones will become green zones within a short time."
"Only five percent areas are left where there are many patients and we can call those red zones. For example, Mohammdpur in Dhaka is an area which have many corona patients. If we take a crash programme to identify the infected people through massive test, and keep all the residents at home by engaging adequate medical team, law enforcers and public representatives, we will be able to turn it into an orange zone from red one by four weeks and green one by two or three months," Dr Be-Nazir said.
He said the economic activities will remain normal in the 80 percent areas of the country if the government follow his model. "If we can implement this model by taking necessary action plans, corona impact will be there only on five percent areas and we'll be able check huge economic losses in the days to come."
Dr Be-Nazir, however, said some effective steps, fund, manpower, plans, guidelines and adequate PPEs will be required to implement the model.
"We also need to strictly enforce the lockdown in the red and orange zones until those become green ones. At the same time, we must ensure the cent percent use of masks to cut down the infection," he said.
The expert said people's involvement is necessary to implement such a model. "If we can convince and motivate people that all need to make efforts to get rid of the virus, they themselves will not allow anyone to come out of homes without any reason and move around without masks."
The former DGHS director warned that corona will prevail in the country for a long time like TB and influenza if the virus spreads all over the country only for lack of proper steps.
"If we withdraw the lockdown in an aligned way based on areas, then most people will remain free from the bad impact of the shutdown and we'll be able to contain the virus. It's called a win-win strategy. This means our lockdown will persist but people's movement and economic activities will remain normal in most areas. If we follow this model, I believe, we can win the corona battle with minimum losses," he added.
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