Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said her government was prepared to tackle any “tough situation” in view of the global coronavirus pandemic and simultaneously expressed her firm determination to win the war against the deadly virus.
“Uncertainty now gripped the entire world (due to COVID-19) but our government is prepared to face any tough situation,” she said in her nationwide address on Wednesday (Mar 25) on the eve of the Independence and National Day 2020.
The premier added: “We triumphed in the 1971 Liberation War in combating enemies shoulder to shoulder . . . facing this deadly disease is another war.”
Hasina said staying indoors at home was the main means to win the war against COVID-19 adding “your awareness will keep you, your family and the people of the country protected”.
“Stay indoors , keep well, healthy and safe, may Allah the great help us,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said preventing people from being infected with the virus was now her government’s “topmost priority” as she detailed the series of nationwide steps to prevent the spread of the diseases adding “I, myself, kept a watch on the situation round the clock”.
She said disasters often appear to test humanity in people and this is the time for extending help to each other to manifest one’s humanity and urged all to be tolerant and sensitive.
“This is a time for practicing austerity. don’t buy anything beyond minimal necessity. Do not stockpile goods. Give scopes to people with limited income to purchase their essentials,” Sheikh Hasina said.
The premier simultaneously asked businessmen not to take advantage of the crisis saying arrangements were afoot for monitoring markets everywhere while currently there was no shortage of goods in the market.
“The supply chains (of products) in the country and with outside world remain intact. So don’t hike the prices of the essential goods irrationally and increase the sufferings of the people,” she said.
The premier said the country was currently self-reliant in food as sufficient grains were now stored in government warehouses, private mills and in the farmers homes.
Moreover, she said, the country this year witnessed bumper production of transplantation Aman (T-Aman) and the volume of food grains stock is over 17 lakh tonnes in government warehouses alone.
“The country witnessed bumper production of potato, onion, chilli and wheat this season as well,” she said but urged farmers to keep no land fallow.
“It’s my request to my peasant brothers not to keep unutilized any land, and produce more food grains,” she said.
In her 23-minute speech, the premier said the Bengalis are a brave nation which tackled various disasters and crisis together in the past while being a government of the people “we always stay beside them”.
“With united efforts of all we’ll also be victorious in this war against the coronavirus Insha Allah.”
The prime minister said history suggests that disaster hits the national life at different ages and time but human beings had overcome those crises through their united efforts while “the mankind earlier prevented epidemics like plague, small pox and cholera”.
But, she said, unlike the closely knitted global society of the present time, the world was not that much closely connected during those epidemics as the people in those days were not used to travel in huge number from one place to another.
“The coronavirus, therefore, spread all over the world in such a quick time . . . but science and technology has immensely advanced by now. The world community will definitely overcome the disaster soon with united efforts of all,” the premier said.
Sheikh Hasina said due to the situation were passing days in a sort of panic and anxiety for their near and dear ones at home and abroad.
“I can realize the mental state of all. But, we have to face the situation with patience and bravery in such a critical time,” she said.
The premier urged all to obey advises of health experts “word to word” to prevent the virus and particularly “avoid public gatherings as much as possible”.
The premier called upon those who returned home from the coronavirus-hit countries to properly follow the directives t including quarantine and isolation at home.
“I request the brothers and sisters who returned home from the coronavirus-hit countries . . . stay isolated only for 14 days for the sake of your family, neighbours and above all for saving lives of the people of the country,” she said.
The prime minister said the IEDCR by now opened hotline numbers aiming to protect the people from the infection of coronavirus.
She said Society of Doctors opened as well 500 helpline numbers as well and suggested people to call these numbers “if any COVID-19 symptom emerges”.
Sheikh Hasina said the government launched a massive anti-COVID-19 campaign since January while a national committee headed by the health minister was also working to provide necessary directions and take pragmatic measures for combating the virus in the country.
Apart from it, she said, committees were formed at city-corporation, municipality, district, upazila and union-levels for prevention of the disease.
Sheikh Hasina said six hospitals were prepared in Dhaka for coronavirus patients while arrangements were underway to treat coronavirus patients in five more hospitals in the capital and separate beds have been prepared for such patients in district and upazila-level hospitals.