Urging the government to speed up repelling measures, a group of experts on Thursday said Bangladesh is in urgent need of smarter, well-targeted strategies to ensure that coronavirus hotspots are isolated and community transmissions are reduced.
The multinational team, consisting of African and South Asian delegates, recognised that an all-out blanket lockdown may not be an optimal option.
They were speaking at an online seminar titled "Smart containment strategies for COVID-19 in Bangladesh" arranged by International Growth Centre (IGC) with support from Brac Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD).
Member of Parliament Saber Hossain Chowdhury noted that that to contain the spread, a shift needs to be made from the stage of deliberate behaviour to involuntary habits.
“There is a lot of social stigma associated with the coronavirus, but we are gradually succeeding in overcoming it,” he added.
The MP acknowledged that there may be a temporary lack of coordination across departments within the government. “That needs to be quickly sorted out. The public should trust the government in its ability to implement what is needed for the welfare of the country's citizens amidst this pandemic.”
Other speakers shared insight on how evidence ranging on behavioural nudge, trust in institutions, information, and social networks can be best leveraged to design smarter, practical, and effective containment strategies.
While discussing local-level issues, Durgapur Upazila Nirbahi Officer Farzana Khanom noted that Illiteracy and poverty among the locals cause the biggest challenge in getting them to comply with health guidelines.
IGC Country Director Dr Imran Matin said that his team is working closely on economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Florida International University Assistant Professor Dr Abu S Shonchoy said it is important that there be coordination within the government.