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3 April, 2020 12:22:27 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 3 April, 2020 12:27:55 AM
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Shibchar lockdown unlikely to go soon

Some 1,000 expatriates last month returned to Shibchar from different European countries, especially from Italy
HARUN UR RASHID, Dhaka
Shibchar lockdown unlikely to go soon

The special lockdown enforced in Shibchar upazila of Madaripur district is likely to continue for now, though no new case of coronavirus has been found there two weeks after the step. The local administration says the upazila is not out of danger, so it does not want to take any risk.

Some 1,000 expatriates last month returned to Shibchar from different European countries, especially from Italy, one of the worst-affected countries by Covid-19.

According to the district administration, some 10 people were infected with the virus in the upazila. Among them, one died, while the others recovered.

The local administration has kept everyone returning from abroad on a 14-day compulsory home quarantine with the help of law enforcers.

Soon after the detection of the virus in three people, the local administration on March 19 put the entire upazila in lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus. To ensure foolproof lockdown and maintain social distancing, the administration took a variety of measures, including the deployment of additional 250 police personnel.

However, the isolation of the upazila is having a hard impact on the poor, who have been deprived of work as most of the businesses and shops remain closed due to the lockdown.

To alleviate the financial crisis of the poor during this period, the administration has taken measures to distribute relief materials among different low-income groups in the area.

Shibchar Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Md Asaduzzaman told The Independent yesterday: “We are keeping those who have returned from abroad on a 14-day quarantine period. Those who have completed the period and are showing no sign of infection have been released from the quarantine.”

“As the expatriates returned home at different times, the quarantine period will be applicable from the day of their return. Though we can trace the expatriates easily by checking the immigration list, it is difficult to trace other people who came from Dhaka and other places,” he said.

“We are trying to keep people at home during the lockdown, but it’s really difficult to do so. Everyday law enforcers patrol the upazila. Steps have been taken to maintain social distancing,” he added.

Asked about the lifting of the lockdown, Asaduzzaman said: “The situation is better to some extent. No new case has been found yet. The higher administration will take the decision about the lockdown.”

Asked about the steps taken to alleviate the suffering of low-income people, he said: “It’s a serious issue at this moment. We have undertaken a number of initiatives to minimise their suffering."

“We have distributed some 3,875 packets containing 10 different items, including rice, lentils, oil, and soap, among low-income groups. Besides, we have doled out some 189 tonnes of rice to 9,500 households. Under the VGF programme, 68 tonnes of rice have been distributed among poor people. Under the Jatka programme, some 140 tonnes of rice have been distributed among 1,740 fishermen,” he noted.

Madaripur district deputy commissioner Md Wahidul Islam said: “We are not thinking of lifting the lockdown at Shibchar soon. The upazila is still risky, though no new cases have been found due to the timely measures taken there. We are on high alert.”

“Some 3,500 returned to the district from abroad in phases last month. We have kept them in quarantine. Whoever is completing the deadline of the quarantine period is being freed,” he also said.

“The lockdown is continuing across the country—this district is not an exception. We hope the people of the upazila will maintain social distancing and follow health guidelines,” he added.

Under this situation, the district administration is distributing relief materials among the poor, he noted.

Like other districts, Shariatpur district, adjacent to western district of Madaripur, also has expatriates who returned from different European countries, especially Italy.

Our correspondent says the entire district is under lockdown and people’s movements have been curtailed. All the expatriates who returned home from European countries have been kept in quarantine. There are around 200 expatriates in quarantine now. Everyday 70-80 people are being released after the period of 14 days.

So far, 56 people have been infected by COVID-19 in the country. Among them, six have died, while 26 have recovered from it till yesterday.

JG

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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