Abu Taher Bappa

2020-03-23 13:01:06 BdST

No ‘official’ lockdown in Tolarbagh, no one being tested either

A group of young boys play cricket on Sunday in front of the Tolarbagh house, where an elderly man died of COVID-19 at Mirpur in Dhaka, on Saturday


Everything seems scary amid a pin drop silence in the Tolarbagh residential of the capital's Mirpur.

A place with at least 5,000 residents, the area now looks like a ghost town. Almost everyone living there is panicking after the death of a 73-year-old resident from coronavirus infection on the early hours of Saturday.

While on a visit to the area yesterday, The FT Team found that buckets of water, soaps and sanitisers were kept in front of most of the buildings and residents were seen washing their hands before entering their house.

Only a handful of the grocery and medicine shops were open.

The main gate of the residential area was shut and no outsider was being allowed there as per the instructions of the police. 

"The remaining four gates are also closed and everyone trying to go out or come in is being asked whether they are habitants of the area," said security guard Md Mizanur Rahman. 

Residents of North Tolarbagh area in Mirpur have been maintaining self-quarantine and avoiding unnecessary street movement.

Police have asked the residents and security guards not to allow any outsiders, as most of the shops, except pharmacies and grocery shops, remained closed. People were asked to perform their regular prayers at home. 

"Tolarbagh Flat Owners' Association has requested the residents to stay at their home for at least 14 days," said Sartaj Alim, a resident of the area. 

The association's president Subhashish Biswas said that they were following the instructions of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).

He informed that the IEDCR officials came to the area and were trying to find out the people with whom the elderly person, who died from the coronavirus (formally known as Covid-19), had contact with and how he became infected with the virus.

IEDCR Director Dr. Meerjady Sabrina Flora said they are tracing the contacts of the elderly patient and that they will quarantine the people who came into contact with him.

However, Nazmus Sakib Khan, a resident of "Darul Aman" the building where the deceased lived, however, said police have only kept them under lockdown in the building, but they did not take any other preventive measures. 

"No one came to disinfect the building or no one of the building has been tested for the coronavirus. We have been waiting since Saturday morning for IEDCR officials to come to collect blood or other samples for the test, but nobody came. The government has just cordoned off the building and it appears they feel they are done with their responsibilities," he said with agony. 


Some residents said during their 14-day quarantine period, they can go outside for shopping once a week as per the instructions of police and the flat owner's association. 

Mostak Ahmed, deputy commissioner (Mirpur Division) of Dhaka Metropolitan Police said the housing authorities of the neighbourhood have sought their help in preventing any public gathering.

"The family members of the deceased are in 14-day mandatory quarantine," he added.


Police's Mirpur Zone Assistant Commissioner Mizanur Rahman said, "This is not actually a lockdown. We have restricted movement in the area as the coronavirus patient roamed there and interacted with many people."

Tolarbagh House Owners' Association President Shuvashis Biswas said the district administration has assured them of providing food and other necessary goods if they face any shortage of food and other essentials during the self-lockdown.

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