Enamul Hafiz Latifee writes,
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today on 16 April 2020 said her government is considering engaging retired physicians and nurses by giving them proper training to ensure treatment for all the COVID-19 patients.
“We can make better use of the retired physicians and nurses after giving them proper training in tackling the crisis arising out of the coronavirus pandemic,” she said while exchanging views with public representatives and officials of nine districts of Dhaka division through video conference from her official Ganabhaban residence. She added that the country has more shortage of nurses than that of physicians.
Against this backdrop, the retired nurses would be the best possible option to meet the current demand of nurses to ensure medicare services for all the COVID-19 patients, she observed.
The premier asked the authorities concerned to prepare more beds in the hospitals to ensure treatment for the freshly infected COVID-19 patients although several hospitals have already been dedicated to the purpose. She said labs have already been set up at 17 places which are collecting samples of suspected COVID-19 patients and the people died with its symptoms and the labs are taking measures to conduct the tests.
“There are plenty of personnel protection equipments (PPEs). Each and every physician and nurse has been given the PPEs,” she added. When her attention was drawn from Narayanganj and Gopalganj districts to the installation of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) labs at the districts for quicker testing of the COVID-19 patients, the premier asked the local authorities to take prompt measures to send the samples to nearby districts which have the facilities and send the test reports through online.
The premier also asked the health ministry officials connected to the videoconference from the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) to take measures to install PCR lab at Narayanganj and in response they said it would take time to install the lab. The health ministry officials informed the premier that they have already taken initiatives in setting up PCR lab at Faridpur district and its operation is going to start in two days.
Referring to the global statistics of deaths and infections by COVID-19, the premier said 50 people have so far died of the disease in Bangladesh, adding: “The situation is still under control as the government has taken measures since the very beginning of the coronavirus outbreak (in China).”
She, however, expressed deep sympathy to the bereaved family members of those who died of COVID-19 and prayed for early recovery of those suffering from the disease.
While interacting with public representatives, officials, law enforcers, physicians, representatives from the armed forces, imams, and the Awami League leaders and workers of Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Shariatpur, Gopalganj, Faridpur, Rajbari, Narsingdi, Madaripur and Dhaka districts under Dhaka division having 70 percent of COVID-19 patient, the premier asked all concerned to take effective measures to stop further spreading of coronavirus in the respective districts.
“Take hot water and seasonal local foods to boost your immune system to fight the coronavirus,” she said, calling upon the people to take necessary precautionary measures for personal and family protection. Sheikh Hasina reiterated her call to all to maintain the stay-at-home and social distancing guidelines, avoiding mass gatherings and to abide by the health ministry’s time to time directives to support the government efforts to check coronavirus spreading.
Mentioning that the nine districts of Dhaka division have the highest number of COVID-19 patients, she asked the local administrations and law enforcement agencies to make sure that no outsider could enter their areas to stop further spreading of coronavirus. In this context, she reminded all that many places have been affected by the lethal virus coronavirus after the people of affected areas entered into the areas.
She also instructed the local administrations to put the foreign returnees in compulsory home quarantine and arrange places for putting them under institutional quarantine, if necessary, to prevent the spreading of diseases.
She directed the naval police and coast guards to take effective measures so that none, in particular the workers of brick-fields, could enter the areas through the naval routes. The premier once again asked the local administrations to arrange markets in larger places to avoid mass gatherings during the coronavirus outbreak.
Referring to an incident of leaving a mother in the jungle as she is suffering from cold, cough and fever, the premier requested all to be humane towards the COVID-19 patients and she said, “People are becoming inhuman after being panicked in the wake of coronavirus. There is no logic of such inhumanity. Take measures for giving treatment, if any person shows coronavirus symptoms.”
She also criticized the mentality of ousting a physician from his area as he fell sick and said that she wanted to bring it to the notice of all as she had heard many such incidents. The premier questioned, “Why such incidents happened in Bangladesh? Bangladeshi people were not supposed to be such inhuman.”
Referring to the suspension of prayers at mosques in Saudi Arabia, the Prime Minister asked all to follow the government guidelines relating to holding prayers during the holy month of Ramadan. “Offer your prayers, particularly the Tarabi, in the holy month of Ramadan following the directives to support the government efforts to contain further spread of the coronavirus,” she added.
She said her government has taken every possible measure to make sure sufficient supply of the essentials in the markets during the month of Ramadan as there is no shortage of commodities in the country. The premier wanted to know from the authorities concerned what measures could be taken in case of the necessity of reopening industries as the country needs to prepare personnel protection equipment (PPEs), including masks.
PM’s Principal Secretary Dr. Ahmad Kaikaus moderated the function while Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam, PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim, PMO Secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah and PM’s personal physician Prof Dr. ABM Abdullah were present at the Ganabhaban on the occasion.