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Combating Covid-19 is a Challenge for Bangladesh

Bangladesh, which was liberated from Pakistan after a 9-month of war of independence in 1971, is facing trouble in combating the spread of Covid- 19. Health minister Zahid Malik has already expressed dissatisfaction over people’s behaviour to tackle the pandemic coronavirus. The disease is now engulfing a new population every day.

To tackle the spread of the pandemic coronavirus, the government has already enforced a countrywide lockdown, which was come into action on April 5. But people continued violating the government instructions for the sake of maintaining their families. Businessmen have already taken to the streets demanding re-opening of their business outlets across the country labeling the government’s decision as contradictory. The lockdown restricted movements of people although it allowed operations of several government-owned offices, banks and factories, and so on. Public transports were also allowed to ply on city roads. Chaos on roads is now a regular phenomenon in the country. Plying of inter-district buses and trains and other such transports including the aircraft are still in halts.

In fact, the government is trying to stop the spread of the pandemic disease based on an illogical decision. While it is strict at a place, at the same time it is losing at other places.

In this situation the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, the largest opposition political party secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir urged the government to provide compensation towards the working people to run their livelihood.

‘Imposing lockdown is important to save lives. But there is no way to ignore the livelihoods of the low-income group,’ he said, adding that labour rights groups should raise the demand for incentives for workers and low-income group people, and go for movements, according to New Age.

The government is yet to implement it although it has claimed to gain the standard of livelihood of the people. The economists, however, are in confusion about the government’s claim. Here is the root of the chaos.

The government earlier said it was fully ready to handle the treatment of Covid- 19 patients. Hospitals were ready to do it. It is now saying that the prevailing conditions of hospitals are not enough for Covid – 19 treatments if the rate of infection continues.

Health minister Zahid Malik on Tuesday said an inch is not left to accommodate a bed in the hospitals.

He said a total of 3,500 beds was added to existing beds in government and private hospitals.

For Bangladesh, vaccination is another problem. The country has had a contract with Indian Serum Institute for Oxford/AstraZeneca jab, some countries have already paused for a serious blood clot.

Asked if different vaccines could end up being used for certain groups as more vaccine types come on stream, Finn told BBC Breakfast: “That’s certainly possible. We are seeing another vaccine coming in [Moderna], and further vaccines are approaching licensure, and I know that the UK has made contracts for quite a wide range of different vaccines, according to The Guardian.

The Guardian reported that the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) are to give updates on Wednesday at 3pm on their investigations into whether the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is directly causing rare brain blood clots. They may recommend that distribution of the vaccine to younger people be paused if they establish a causal link with rare blood clots.

Such a situation Bangladesh is only depending on Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine for vaccination keeping no other alternatives. Considering the safe- health of the people of the country, the country must think about other vaccines such as Moderna and Johnson and Johnson. If the country does not do it, it could face trouble.

Saifur Rahman Saif is a Bangladeshi journalist. He works at New Age, a popular newspaper. He can be reached at saifnewage@gmail.com

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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