NTAC recommends 14-day countrywide complete ‘shutdown’

The National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19 has recommended a "complete nationwide shutdown" for 14 days instead of partial ‘lockdown’ at different places to curb the surge of infections.

The NTAC in its 38th meeting held on Wednesday night said the "piecemeal" steps taken by the government --imposing restrictions on different districts -- have raised questions about effectiveness.

A press release issued by the NTAC on Thursday afternoon said that the NTAC officials had a discussion with top Indian experts to know their experiences of the latest spike in transmission and lockdown in India.

The press release signed by Dr Mohammad Shahidullah, president of the NTAC, said, "As per their [Indian experts'] opinion, the transmission came under control where complete shutdown was imposed [in India]. To prevent loss of public lives, the committee unanimously recommended complete shutdown for at least 14 days countrywide, as the transmission has gone out of control."

The TNAC also recommended to keep all transports except those involved in emergency services and offices closed. "Otherwise, the health system will be insufficient, whatever preparations we have," it reads.

As per the press release, the NTAC also opined that over 80 percent of the people of the country should be vaccinated to get rid of such type of infection.

The committee members also thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for various initiatives taken by the government to collect vaccines and vaccinating the people of the country.

It should be mentioned that amid the rise in Covid cases triggered by local transmission of the Delta variant, experts earlier had predicted that Bangladesh may see the peak of the current wave of the deadly virus in the third week of July next.

Using a mathematical model, Bangladesh Como Modelling Group, a panel of local and international health experts, also said the number of daily cases is likely to cross 10,000-mark in mid-July, putting a serious pressure on the country’s healthcare system.

They, however, said the severity of the virus infection and fatality rates during the probable peak on the eve of Eid-ul-Azha will depend on the effectiveness of preventive measures, management of cattle markets and control on public movement.

The experts appreciated the government’s move to isolate Dhaka from other parts of the country by suspending road, rail and waterway communications, saying that it may help slow down the virus transmission.