Eight other people from the BNP chairperson's residence also test positive for the disease; Khaleda's condition is stable, says BNP
BNP Chairperson and former prime minister Khaleda Zia has tested positive for Covid-19 but is asymptomatic, according to BNP.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Sunday said their party chairperson’s condition is completely stable with no symptoms of Covid-19, though she has tested positive for the virus.
“Our leader Khaleda Zia has undergone a coronavirus test. Her samples were taken to icddr,b on Saturday. We came to know her report is positive for the virus,” Mirza Fakhrul said.
In a press conference at the BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office, he said she was now undergoing treatment under the supervision of her personal physicians, led by respiratory medicine expert Prof Dr FM Siddiqui.
“She’s stable and fine. She has no visible Covid-19 symptoms, including high temperature,” the BNP leader said.
He said her personal physicians would take steps for her further treatment, if necessary.
Fakhrul said Khaleda urged the country’s people to pray for her speedy recovery.
“Especially, I urge our party’s leaders and activists at every level to seek divine blessings for our leader’s quick recovery,” he added.
He also urged party leaders and activists to arrange dua mahfil for her in local mosques, maintaining health safety rules.
“Her health condition is completely stable and her treatment has already begun. We would like to assure people she’s fine and receiving treatment under her personal physicians, who are famous in the country,” Fakhrul added.
In the afternoon, Khaleda Zia's personal physician Dr Abdullah Al Mamun spoke to reporters after observing Khaleda Zia's physical condition.
A total of nine people, including Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda Zia and her domestic help Fatema, were infected with Covid-19 at her residence, he confirmed.
Six days ago, a staff member took a Covid-19 test after showing some symptoms which came back positive, he said.
Later six more people residing in the house were also tested and their results showed they were also Covid-19 positive, he said.
“Although Khaleda Zia did not have any symptoms, she was tested for her safety on April 10. On Sunday, after getting the result, I found out that she has been infected. I can't give her personal details, so I didn't talk about this before her consent,” he added.
“I observed her in the evening. She's completely stable.There are no symptoms related to Covid-19,” he said.
“There is already a medical team for her, who will monitor her at all times. Inside the house, all medical kits have been set up for emergencies, such as oxygen canisters. A bed was also booked for her in a private hospital in case of emergency,” he added.
Prison sentence suspended for 6 months
Last month, the government approved the proposal of suspending BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's prison sentences in two graft cases for six more months.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan announced on March 15 that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had cleared it.
Her parole was extended for another six months with the previous conditions remaining unchanged.
By the order of the president, the BNP chief should take treatment from her home in Dhaka and should not go abroad during the extra six months, said a press release from the Home Ministry issued the same day.
On March 8, the Law Ministry recommended suspending Khaleda Zia's prison sentences for six more months after her family filed a plea with the Home Ministry seeking an extension of the suspended prison sentence on March 3.
Khaleda's family sought permission to have her medical treatment abroad.
Amid the coronavirus outbreak, the government freed Khaleda Zia from jail on conditions for six months through an executive order suspending her sentences on March 25 last year.
She was released from the prison cell of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) the same day, and she has been staying at her Gulshan residence since then.
Later, the government extended her release for six more months from September 25.
Charges against Khaleda
On July 3, 2008, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed the Zia Orphanage Trust graft case against Khaleda Zia, her son and BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman, and four others with Ramna police station, accusing them of misappropriating Tk2.1 crore — donations meant for a trust to be formed in her husband's name.
On February 8, 2018, a special court convicted Khaleda and sentenced her to five years' imprisonment in the case. She was sent to serve her sentence at a special jail in the Old Dhaka Central Jail building on Nazimuddin Road.
Later, the High Court extended Khaleda Zia's prison term in the graft case to 10 years.
Meanwhile, the BNP chief and three others were sentenced to seven years in jail in the Zia Charitable Trust graft case on October 29, 2018.
The ACC filed the case on August 8, 2011 with Tejgaon police station against Khaleda and three others, accusing them of abuse of power in raising funds for the trust from unknown sources.