Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday issued 31 directives, including consulting physicians in case there are Covid-19 symptoms without hiding those and not using personal protective equipment (PPE) by all, to curb coronavirus in the country .
“The Prime Minister has given the 31-point directive amid the coronavirus situation in the country,” said PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim on Thursday night.
As per the directives, steps have to be taken for coronavirus treatment and implementing awareness programmes and there is no need for hiding anything if coronavirus symptoms surface and one needs to consult doctors, all should not go for wholesale use of PPE, rather it needs to ensure PPE for all associated with the treatment process and adopt cautionary measures to keep all treatment equipment, including PPE and masks, free from virus and ensure their proper disposal, special priority should be given to all doctors, nurses, lab technicians, cleaning workers and ambulance drivers who are involved in the treatment of Covid-I9 disease and those who are in home-quarantine or isolation should be treated humanely.
Following the health guidelines, including washing hands, using masks and maintaining social distancing regularly, providing naval ambulances in the riverine districts, continuing proper health checkups and medical care for other patients, ensuring cleanliness, strengthening cleanliness drivers in all city corporations, municipalities and upazila parishads across the country, giving attention to the law and order, working by all government officials, including that of the Health Services Division, administration, law enforcement agencies and Armed Forces, maintaining proper coordination in this national disaster also among the directives.
As per the other directives no corruption will be tolerated in relief activities, it will have to provide assistance to day-labourers, workers and farmers so that they do not remain unfed and a separate list of poor working people will have to be prepared, social safety net activities will have to continue, proper attention will have to be given so that economic activities do not get stagnated, food production system will have to continue, more varieties of crops will have to be produced, whatever is needed for food security will have to be done and no land should be kept uncultivated.
UNB File Photo
The directives also include maintaining the supply chain, continuing general activities and keeping the prices of essentials under control and suspending all celebration programmes of Bangla New Year in the public interest so that no public gathering takes place and instead ensuring digital celebration indoors.
Local public representatives, political leaders and people of all classes should work together, administration will have to work engaging all the people and alongside the government, the affluent section and institutions of the society will carry out their relief and healthcare activities maintaining coordination with the deputy commissioners and upazila nirbahi officers, the directives say.
Distributing food by public representatives and upazila administration among the distressed people by preparing a ward-based list, paying special attention to the most disadvantaged people like agriculture workers, day-labourers, rickshaw and van-pullers, transport workers, beggars, street children, women abandoned by husband, widows and transgender community and providing relief to them, taking necessary arrangements for senior citizens and children, following standing orders by all government employees and volunteer organisations regarding disasters, making necessary arrangements for monitoring on production, supply and regular marketing of essential goods and not buying excessive products after being panicked as there is adequate stock of all necessary goods, including food grains, are among the directives.
The rest five directives are continuing cultivation by farmers and government incentives, keeping industries, business establishments and houses clean and continuing production through discussion with workers and ensuring their health safety.
Mention that media workers are playing a proper role in creating mass awareness, it was said in the directives that a sharp eye will have to be kept so that no-one can mislead people by spreading rumours and false information and spreading rumours will have to be stopped and no heed can be paid to those.
COAST Trust, a national NGO working for coastal people and Rohingya, has distributed Tk 31.50 lakh to government for creating coronavirus welfare fund and also for raising awareness in coastal area and Rohingya camps.
The Coast Trust funded the donation from COAST Disaster Mitigation Fund created from micro finance service charge, says a press release on Thursday.
Among the fund, Tk 16.00 lakh was distributed to eight coastal districts like Bhola, Cox’s Bazar, Chattogram, Feni, Laxmipur, Patuakhali, Barishal and Jhalakathi and 37 coastal upazillas to Deputy Commissioners and Upazilla Nirbahi Officers in the government created corona virus welfare fund.
Considering the situation, since March 10, various activities have been undertaken in nine coastal districts in its working areas.
Earlier, the organization continued its vigilance program at various stages, including creating awareness videos, promoting shows on Facebook, creating and distributing leaflets, building awareness regularly among members and follow-ups during home visits.
Also, guidance and motivation is provided to employees through regular video conferences.
This money has also been managed from its Disaster Mitigation Fund too, the press release said.
Prime Minister's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim on Thursday dismissed the news that went viral on Facebook on house rent waiver, postponement of bank loan and electricity bill for three months and a one-month holiday in all offices as a rumour.
"A rumour regarding waiving house rent, postponing bank loan and electricity bill for three months and one-month holiday in all offices is being made viral through Facebook. It’s completely false and fabricated," he said in a statement.
Ihsanul Karim said those spreading such rumour are committing crimes. "Stringent legal action will be taken against them," he added.
The PM’s press secretary said the Prime Minister will inform about the steps she took to combat the coronavirus situation by herself or through proper authorities.
Police Headquarters on Thursday urged different organisations and individuals to inform police before going for distributing food and relief materials.
The call was made to avoid mass gathering and maintain social distancing, said Md Sohel Rana, assistant inspector general (AIG-Media) of Police Headquarters.
Maintaining social distancing is getting tough as mass gatherings are being created during food and relief distribution, which is very risky, he said.
All organisations and individuals are requested to inform police before distributing relief and food and take their help, Sohel Rana added.
Meanwhile, police and members of Bangladesh Army started taking tough action from Thursday against those who are not maintaining social distancing and are violating home-quarantine rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The government on Wednesday extended holidays till April 11 to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. Earlier, a general 10-day holiday was declared from March 26 to April 4.
The electricity supply in Dhaka city was disrupted for a while on Thursday due to the season’s first nor'wester accompanied by light shower.
According to sources at Dhaka Power Distribution Company Ltd (DPDC) and Dhaka Electric Supply Company Ltd (Desco), three grid substations tripped in the city as the nor’wester swept the capital around 3pm first.
“Our two grid substations at Matuail and Khilgoan were forced out by the storm leading to power outage in different areas under those two establishments. But within a few minutes, we restored the power supply through alternative transmission system,” DPDC Managing Director Bikash Dewan told UNB.
He also said the power distribution became normal and there is no complaint from consumers.
Desco Director (Operations) Noor Mohammad informed that Bashundhara grid substation of the power distribution entity tripped as the nor’wester hit the city.
“But we restored the system within minutes with alternative source of supply,” he said.
Noor also claimed that no complaint from consumers was received about any long-time disruption in the power supply in any area under Desco.