The bulletin will air at 2:30pm on Tuesday for the last time until further notice
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) is going to end its daily Covid-19 bulletin at a time when experts have warned that the number of Covid-19 positive cases will increase in the days to come.
In addition to the regular information about daily Covid-19 situation in the country, the DGHS bulletin also gave various awareness messages, everyday.
Various sources from the DGHS said the bulletin is ending as per an instruction issued by the Health Ministry; DGHS does not have authority to take such a big decision, reports Bangla Tribune.
As the coronavirus infection is in control, and the situation is getting better, therefore, the bulletin is not required anymore, Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque said.
The bulletin will air on Tuesday for the last time and from Wednesday, this regular bulletin will no longer be available at 2:30pm, Zahid Maleque confirmed.
From Wednesday, the daily Covid-19 updates will be sent to the media in the form of a press release, sources at the DGHS said.
When asked why the bulletin is ending, the health minister said: “The bulletin will not be live streamed on TV, rather it will come out in a writing form, more like a press release. It has been almost five months; we think the Covid-19 infection is in control now and also decreasing.”
However, Prof Iqbal Arslan, member of the National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19, has disagreed with this decision. He said: “My guess is that the ministry and DGHS themselves do not know what they are trying to do.
“From what we have seen in the past, there does not seem to be any wisdom in their (Health Ministry’s) action. They have shown their immaturity in various orders issued by them at different times, which completely lacks combination of merit.”
Iqbal, also the president of Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad (Swachip), said: “It was not a briefing, rather a bulletin, where journalists did not have any scope to ask questions. And now they are ending it and want to send a press release, instead.
“But in the face of such pandemic, the authorities all over the world are facing journalists and answering their various questions. And there is the exact opposite situation in Bangladesh. In my opinion, there is no hide and seek here and neither the Ministry of Health nor the DGHS had any chance to be embarrassed,” he added.
On April 7, at the briefing, reporters were excluded from asking questions and the briefing was renamed as bulletin. At that time, the then DGHS director general (DG) Prof Abul Kalam Azad said instead of live streaming it as a regular briefing, they will broadcast it as a health bulletin.
The former DG said the decision was taken after discussing with everyone, adding that "there will be no more question and answer session after the bulletin."
Earlier in the first week of February, the first briefing on the coronavirus issue was organized by the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR).
At that time, IEDCR Director Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora used to brief the media about all Covid-19 information in the country. The Covid-19 briefing gained popularity among the people of the country from that time.
Then in March, the DGHS started doing the briefings from IEDCR and the IEDCR director said at the time that they used to do the briefings on behalf of DGHS.