Strategic assessment of COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh: comparative lockdown scenario analysis, public perception, and management for sustainability
Abstract: Community transmission of COVID-19 is happening in Bangladesh—the country which did not have a noteworthy health policy and legislative structures to combat a pandemic like COVID-19. Early strategic planning and groundwork for evolving and established challenges are crucial to assemble resources and react in an appropriate timely manner. This article, therefore, focuses on the public perception of comparative lockdown scenario analysis and how they may affect the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and the strategic management regime of COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh socio-economically as well as the implications of the withdrawal of partial lockdown plan. Scenario-based public perceptions were collected via a purposive sampling survey method through a questionnaire. Datasets were analysed through a set of statistical techniques including classical test theory, principal component analysis, hierarchical cluster analysis, Pearson’s correlation matrix and linear regression analysis. There were good associations among the lockdown scenarios and response strategies to be formulated. Scenario 1 describes how the death and infection rate will increase if the Bangladesh Government withdraws the existing partial lockdown. Scenario 2 outlines that limited people’s movement will enable low-level community transmission of COVID-19 with the infection and death rate will increase slowly (r = 0.540, p < 0.01). Moreover, there will be less supply of necessities of daily use with a price hike (r = 0.680, p < 0.01). In scenario 3, full lockdown will reduce community transmission and death from COVID-19 (r = 0.545, p < 0.01). However, along with the other problems gender discrimination and gender-based violence will increase rapidly (r = 0.661, p < 0.01). Due to full lockdown, the formal and informal business, economy, and education sector will be hampered severely (R = 0.695). Subsequently, there was a strong association between the loss of livelihood and the unemployment rate which will increase due to business shutdown (p < 0.01). This will lead to the severe sufferings of poor and vulnerable communities in both urban and rural areas (p < 0.01). All these will further aggravate the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable groups in the country in the coming months to be followed which will undoubtedly affect the Bangladesh targets to achieve the SDGs of 2030 and other development plans that need to be adjusted. From our analysis, it was apparent that maintaining partial lockdown with business and economic activities with social distancing and public health guidelines is the best strategy to maintain. However, as the government withdrew the partial lockdown, inclusive and transparent risk communication towards the public should be followed. Recovery and strengthening of the health sector, economy, industry, agriculture, and food security should be focused on under the “new normal standard of life” following health guidelines and social distancing. Proper response plans and strategic management are necessary for the sustainability of the nation. Graphic abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.] © 2020, Springer Nature B.V.