Experts for all-out preparation to tackle crisis
In line with speculations by experts that the coronavirus crisis may escalate in Bangladesh during the winter, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called upon the officials to start taking preparations from now.
“Winter is coming. The situation may deteriorate to some extent. But we’ve to take preparation from right now,” UNB quoted her saying on Sunday at a Gonobhaban event for receiving donations for the PM’s Relief and Welfare Fund.
Everyone in the country has been working with utmost sincerity to fight Covid-19 pandemic, Sheikh Hasina said before adding: “That’s why we’ve been able to face it.”
Appreciating her call, experts said that Bangladesh should start taking preparations considering measures to tackle the crisis, fearing infections may rise in the upcoming winter season.
The prime minister’s call comes at a time when several countries are experiencing a second wave of Covid-19 infections, which have so far, claimed over 960,000 lives and infected a little over 31 million people across the world.
Appreciations pour in
“It’s good to hear that the prime minister personally instructed officials to take proper preparations before the outbreak surfaces again,” said Virologist Prof Nazrul Islam, who sits on the government’s top Covid-19 advisory panel.
Stating that the health authorities seemed relaxed ever since the crisis started, and may be proved very negligent, Nazrul said: “Now we can hope that some work would be done by them.”
The member of the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19 opined that there have always been some risks regarding the crisis escalating in winter time when the cases of respiratory complications rise alarmingly, and Covid-19 itself is a respiratory disease.
He, however, suggested that doctors ought to be careful not only to detect the Covid-19 cases but also respiratory issues since their symptoms are identical.
“For instance, we have noticed that no other respiratory disease has a smelling issue. But in the case of coronavirus, a patient will lose his or her ability to smell,” he added.
Increasing number of tests emphasised
The virologist emphasised on increasing the number of tests, which has been a call from health experts for the past few months.
“All we need is: stop all sources of the virus from spreading,” he said, adding that there is nothing new in the preparations to fight the pandemic in winter.
Lauding the premier’s call, Prof Shah Monir Hossain, former chief of the Director General of Health Services (DGHS), said there is no alternative to fully implementing the guidelines as instructed by the government, to ensure public health safety.
Calling for constant efforts to build mass awareness in this regard, he said: “The people should be encouraged more to go for Covid-19 tests whenever needed.
“It could have been really great if the number of tests was at least 20,000 a day,” he observed.
Earlier, Director General of DGHS ABM Khurshid Alam on September 4, referring to experts, warned that the Covid-19 situation could be deteriorated during winter season and so they need to take proper preparations.
The same caution was raised by experts in several online discussions in the past two months.
Bangladesh yesterday recorded 26 more deaths and 1,544 new cases, taking the respective tallies to 4,939 and 348,916.
Coronavirus cases were first reported in China in December last year and in Bangladesh on March 8. The World Health Organization declared it a pandemic in March.
There is currently no vaccine for coronavirus but a number of promising candidates are in the final stage of trial.
The donation-receiving event
The premier joined the function through a videoconference from her official residence Gonobhaban as representatives of various organisations handed over cheques to PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Of them, 34 commercial banks led by Bangladesh Association of Banks (BAB) provided a total of Tk 164 crore as donation.