Expressing frustration over people not paying heed to her call on celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr at their respective locations, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said had the people followed her call, the coronavirus situation in the country wouldn’t have worsened like it is now.
In her concluding speech in the 13th session of the 11th parliament, the leader of the House said the virus spread to the district level due to disobeying the call and this was the reality.
She requested the people to keep themselves safe from contracting the virus. “Please follow the health safety guidelines, and let coronavirus not spread further.”
Hasina said she had called upon people repeatedly before the Eid-ul-Fitr not to move from their respective places.
“But many did not pay heed to that call. They rushed to their village homes. What is the result of that? That’s the spread of the virus. If all listened to our call, then this spread might not have occurred.”
The premier urged people to obey the ongoing “strict lockdown” rules and health safety guidelines properly to stop further spread of Covid-19. She reassured people of bringing everyone under the coverage of vaccination and other required assistances.
Hasina said the only way to check the spread of the virus is to wear masks, clean hands and maintain distancing in such a way that none can be infected afresh with Covid.
She reiterated her pledge to bring 80 percent of the country’s population under vaccination coverage free of cost as 4.50 million jabs of Moderna and Sinopharm vaccines have already reached Dhaka. Besides, the processes of bringing more vaccines is underway as talks with countries like China, Russia, the USA and Japan are going on, the PM added.
“We’ll bring more vaccines… we’ll purchase whatever quantity is required and for that, we have allocated enough money in the national budget. An amount of Tk 32,236 crore has been allocated in the budget to this end alongside earmarking Tk 10,000 crore separately which can also be used, if required.”
Bangladesh faced some difficulties in collecting vaccines after India stopped export of Covid vaccine jabs as it witnessed a massive surge in cases and deaths, the PM said, adding that the problem was now over.
The premier said her government has made Covid testing free across the country as it spreads in the districts.
Talking about the ongoing seven-day “strict lockdown”, she said the government would look after the food security of the people.
Hasina, also the Awami League president, said her government has given stimulus packages to various sectors and financial assistance to the people (during the first wave of the pandemic) to ease their lives and livelihoods alongside keeping the country’s economy moving.
Mentioning that people of every profession and class got support from the government, she said, “We’ll again provide assistance with our maximum capacity as the coronavirus surfaces again …we’ll definitely look into the matter so that no one faces difficulties in getting food.”
REOPENING OF EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
About reopening of educational institutions, Hasina said the government cannot put the students on the verge of death knowing that coronavirus will infect them.
She, however, admitted the loss of education for the students due to the closure of educational institutions for a long time.
“Children are also getting infected with Covid. They will learn, but the question is whether we will force them to be on the verge of death knowing that this highly contagious virus also infects our children.”
Earlier in the day, a number of opposition MPs, including Jatiya Party Chairman and Deputy Leader of the Opposition GM Quader strongly criticised the government for keeping educational institutions closed for a long time.
In response, the premier said the government will open educational institutions after providing vaccines.
She also mentioned that many parents are not interested in sending their children to educational institutions amid the pandemic.