The reality is that the pandemic has created millions of newly poor
The government’s decision to impose what is being called the “toughest lockdown yet” is understandable -- single-day fatalities continue to rise, as do infection rates. Moreover, as has been reported, the infection rate had declined significantly in Chapainawabganj due to the strict implementation of restrictive measures there, and strict lockdowns have been used as the immediate response to surging cases worldwide.
Yet, every lockdown brings with it its repercussions, which, unfortunately as always, are felt most by those most vulnerable in our society.
To that end, it is encouraging to see that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself has instructed the authorities to provide food and cash aid -- going as far as instructing to prepare a list to provide aid even if they did not have any identity cards or were not from that area.
Indeed, the government deserves plaudits for taking this matter seriously, and issuing these instructions, but in reality, this is the least any government of any functioning democracy should do at such times. The government has a duty to fulfill towards all its people, and among the most basic ones include ensuring that no one goes hungry.
The reality is that the pandemic has created millions of newly poor, and the onus falls on the government to do everything in its power to provide the bare minimum to these people, who through no fault of their own, find themselves struggling to make ends meet.
We hope that all relevant authorities concerned and stakeholders heed the PM’s words, and fulfill their duty to serve the people. People are suffering daily as a result of this pandemic, and this assistance from the government is the very least they deserve.