Many countries, including Britain’s European neighbours, Australia and India, have already suspended flights to and from London
Unlike many other countries in the world, Bangladesh is yet to take a decision on banning flights to and from the United Kingdom, where a new variant of Covid-19 is running rampant.
This is nothing new. Bangladesh has not been a good example to others when it comes to taking decisions on urgent issues at the right time, and the same old mistakes are being made again.
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“We are monitoring the matter and will make a decision soon,” Mohibul Haque, senior secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, said on Tuesday.
“A new form of coronavirus has been discovered in the UK and it is spreading. That is why many countries of the world are worried about this issue, and we are also worried. Many countries have cut off air connectivity with London.”
The above statement of the top bureaucrat reflects the urgency of the issue. However, the government is taking more time while many countries, including Britain’s European neighbours, Australia and India, have already suspended flights to and from London due to the spread of the new variant, which is believed to be more contagious than the current one.
The reason or reasons behind the delay in the decision on such an important issue is not understandable to many people, including experts.
The only hope is that the decision will come too late.
The implications of delaying the taking of a decision or taking a bad decision could be far-reaching, as the country experienced at the outset of the spread of coronavirus. Many believe the situation would not have deteriorated as much if the government acted decisively on flights from Europe.
Despite significant mismanagement, the situation in relation to Covid-19 in Bangladesh is more or less under control. Having said that, dozens of people are still dying every day from the deadly disease and even one death is too many.
In such a scenario, the authorities cannot afford to delay the suspension of flights to and from the UK. Heaven forbid, if the new variant arrives in Bangladesh, the situation will become much worse than it is now.
Of course, it is still not known whether the new variant is already in our country, as flights between Bangladesh and the UK are operating and Covid-19-related government guidelines are not strictly maintained at the airport.
At present, national flag carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines operates only one direct flight each week between the two countries. However, several other airlines ferry passengers between Bangladesh and the UK through transit in other cities.
Research is ongoing regarding the severity of the new variant. Until the research is completed, Bangladesh cannot afford to take risks and should suspend any possible route of entry for the virus.